How to Make the Most Out of Your Vacation Time

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It’s time — to use your vacation days. You’ve earned this time off, you work long hours and endure a hellish commute everyday, and you’re exhausted. It’s a fact that the U.S. is the most overworked developed nation in the world. In the U.S., 85.5% of males and 66.5% of females work more than 40 hours a week; at least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week, something the U.S. does not have. And I have to ask, are you in the least bit surprised? Despite these statistics, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush states that Americans should actually be working longer hours to help the sluggish economy.

Putting that aside, you have time off: Maybe it’s a week or a couple of days including the weekend. What are you supposed to do with it? How are you supposed to spend it? Why do you feel pressured to have to do something amazing and memorable? Most vacations are exhausting anyway, again, because of the pressure to have to continuously do something to prove you’re enjoying yourself.

If you’re stuck and not sure how you want to spend this precious time, here are some suggestions.

1. Do nothing

Remember summer vacations when you slept until noon and played video games all day or just barely made it out of bed? Those were some of the best times of our lives. Bet you forgot what it feels like to do absolutely nothing. Go ahead and treat yourself to a few days of having no plans. Turn off your phone or at least go on it less, and try not to use your computer. You’re in do-nothing mode, and you sure as hell earned it.

2. Take up a new hobby


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As we get older and work takes over our lives, some of the things that we used to love doing fall to the wayside. We lose little chunks of happiness. We forget about these things, shrug them off, and say that we no longer have the time to do them. It’s part of life, but ask yourself: If you had extra time to yourself, what would you do and how would you spend that time? Is it joining a recreational baseball league because you used to be an all-star at varsity baseball in high school, or do you dream about trying stand-up comedy? Seize the day and do it. Work on your hobby during your time off and continue to make time after you return to work. You will be so much happier.

3. Travel somewhere you’ve never been

Ever dreamed of going to Egypt to see the ancient pyramids? What the hell are you waiting for? You have time off to travel to far away places. Go somewhere you’ve never been before and soak in all the culture you can. Do so before you’re bogged down with inescapable responsibility.

4. Spend quality time with your family

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We all have incredibly busy lives, which makes it hard to spend time with our families. Visit them and enjoy some quality time because you want to, not because you’re forced to do so during the holidays. Just remember, one day your parents won’t be here anymore. It’s important to spend as much time with them as possible. Talk to them. Maybe you’ll learn something interesting about them you didn’t know before.

5. Spend quality time with your significant other

Spend time doing something together. Block off the world, so it’s just the two of you. Sometimes it’s great (and necessary) to slow down and get to know each other all over again.

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