Even though summer officially just began with the solstice on June 20, 2016, the kids are out of school, camps and outdoor concerts are in full swing, and it’s HOT; so for all practical purposes, we’ve been enjoying summer for a few weeks now.
Summer is a time for vacations. It’s a time to physically and mentally disconnect from the office in order to recharge and reset our minds, spend time making memories with loved ones, and experience things that will enrich our perspectives. Studies show that vacations lower stress and lead to better health; increase creativity and productivity when you return to the office; and lower the chance of burnout, as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, though, Americans are taking fewer vacations now than in years past. A 2012 survey by Harris Interactive Inc. found that Americans leave 9.2 days of vacation unused each year. When you consider the benefits of disconnecting, that’s a large amount of time to let slip away.
Working in media and also communications and community building, I see how the constant grind and regular exposure to tragic news and negative energy on social media affects me, our citizens, city, and nation. In order to perform at our best, to engage and motivate others, and to lead and make a difference, we must have hope and a positive attitude, though. This is why vacations are just as important to the well-being of an individual and family, as they are to our city. It’s also why “news fasts” – time off from the steady stream of news and social media – are vital, as well.
Recently, my friend Dr. Bruce Weinstein (known as The Ethics Guy) wrote an article in The Huffington Post, titled “Stop Watching the News (for Awhile).” In the article he discussed how a vacation and news fast combination worked wonders on his mental health. Understanding the average person checks their smartphone 100-125 times per day and that images and reports of tragic news can have deleterious effects on our health, the real power lies in completely disconnecting. You’ll be surprised at how much disconnecting, even if only for a day or two, will improve your outlook, so take a vacation and turn off the social media and news while doing so. Recharge so we can have your best effort to move our city forward!