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Why We Need 'Mental Health Vacations'

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I wish that everyone had the fortune of taking a month off work to travel. Or even a week. And it wouldn’t have to be some huge trip to Australia like I had. It could be to a city that is just a few hours away by car. I just wish everyone could get away from the “real world” for a short while — to take a “mental health vacation.”

My trip to Australia was amazing for so many reasons that I cannot even begin to list them all. One of the greatest reasons is that I was able to mentally and emotionally reset. I was in a new city, new country, new hemisphere, new time zone and new continent. However, I was with old friends.

I met these friends during some of the happiest times of my life. Spending time in a new place with old friends helped me to reflect on what I want from life. I want adventure, friendship, laughter and stability. With Alaina and Torii, we laughed about frolicking around Scotland in torrential wind and rain. We talked about pitchers of Pimms and our favorite London sites. With Maya, we had Mickey Mouse shaped stars in our eyes and we reflected on our time at the Disney College Program. We discussed our friends and the things we missed most about Orlando. Those three girls helped me remember how much I love and crave adventure, friendship, laughter and stability. And let me clarify what I mean by stability. It isn’t completely financial. I mean, I want enough to pay for rent and food and gas and bills, but I don’t need to have some incredibly cushy bank account.

I was able to escape the real world in Australia and I wish everyone could do that.

I wasn’t earning money while there. I was spending a lot. But I planned ahead and was cautious enough that I would be able to pay rent and feed myself and my cat when I got back. I didn’t have to worry about going to work and facing guests complaining about a strand of hair they found on the duvet cover. I wasn’t at work with a line of 15 people in front of me and only one other employee working the desk. I did not have to stress over the aspects of my current job that cause me great anxiety. I’ve been told by people at work that I care too much about my job, but I am hardwired that way. It would be better to care too much than too little, right? Let me tell you, it gets incredibly draining. But my leave of absence allowed me to recharge and reset.

After coming back from Australia, I have greater patience with everyone when I go to work. I think I have extra pep in my step and I don’t take angry guests personally like I once used to. Or at least I rarely take them personally. I am able to see a bigger picture of the hospitality industry and where I think I fit into the scheme of it — if I even fit at all.

sea and sky off the back of the boat in austrailia

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Unsplash photo via Tim Gouw

Originally published: October 30, 2017
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