Summer Vacation?

Summer is almost here, and it’s usually the time when many of us take vacation time. If we have school-age children, summer plans can take on even more urgency since we need to find things to keep them occupied. Still, you deserve a vacation, too. Are you planning anything for yourself and/or your family?

Vacation Time

With many workplaces offering accrued time in a package that includes sick time, personal time and vacation time all in one, sometimes our vacation time can get eaten up by time off for illness or personal needs during the year. Thus, some of us will find ourselves without any accrued time to speak of.

Meanwhile, many of us work part time, work as self-employed entrepreneurs, or we may work for an employer that doesn’t even offer vacation time, so time off is something we just take without pay—if we take it at all.

Whatever your situation, time off is necessary for your mental health, so how do you use the time that you have at your disposal—or how do you create time that otherwise wouldn’t be there to take?

It’s About Self-Care

Time off from work is about self-care, and it’s important to set some amount of time aside on a regular basis wherein we can relax and renew ourselves.

If work is the center of your life and your “workstyle” basically dictates your lifestyle, you may have to make more conscious effort to set aside time for vacation and play. Meanwhile, taking time off may be a no-brainer for some of you, and you’ve already made plans, requested time off, and you’re ready to go!

Remember, it’s about self-care. How do you care for yourself?

It Doesn’t Have to be Expensive or Extravagant

There are almost always people we know who take extravagant vacations. Personally, I have neighbors, friends or family members who have been to Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, and even Australia in the last 12 months. That’s lovely and I’m happy for them, but I actually don’t have the money or time to take on such an expensive venture this year. (My wife and I are saving up for a trip to Europe in 2015.)

For many of us, an adventure in Europe or Australia would be nice, but sometimes we just can’t afford it. So, remember that a vacation can be local and simple while still being fun.

For instance, this year my wife and I are going to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary by staying at a lovely inn that’s less than 100 miles from our home. While a four-week trip to Europe would be nice (and cost about $10,000!), we’ve chosen to spend four days at this local inn, and we’ll probably spend about $1,000 instead. It won’t be Amsterdam or Rome, but we’ll have fun and create great memories for ourselves without the expense and extravagance of a trip to Europe this time around.

Over the rest of the summer, we plan to take long weekends, camping at various places around New Mexico and southern Colorado, all within about 200 miles of our home in Santa Fe. This is a nice compromise, and we’ll create many good memories while spending only a fraction of what an international vacation would cost.

How can you create nice memories and get some rest without breaking the bank?

It’s Not What You Do But How You Do It

Folks, in the end, it’s not what you do for vacation but how you go about it. A local vacation like we’re taking this year can be just as memorable as a vacation in Tuscany, especially if you approach it from the perspective of milking it for everything it’s worth. Make it special and it’ll be special. See it as “less than”, and it’ll be disappointing.

So, examine your summer plans, see how you can  make even the most simple plans special, and create memories, fun and relaxation that will suit your needs—and your budget.

Summer vacations can be anything you want them to be. Let me know what you plan to do, and please enjoy yourself, whatever you choose!

About Keith

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Keith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist.

With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers.

Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on many social media platforms, as well as at