Work and Life Balance Time Out! The Benefits of Brief Vacations for Busy Women Who Juggle Work, Family and Marriage

Busy professional women who are also mothers and wives often do not understand how a long weekend or last minute vacation can help them in both work and family life. These women frequently think: “Vacation—are you kidding? With all these work projects and responsibilities and laundry building up?” Yet, a vacation is probably just what the doctor ordered for more productivity and creativity at work, stress management, as well as better functioning in the family. If you are not sure you need a brief getaway, take this short quiz. Read these statements and count how many of them describe you.

How Do I Know if I Need a Vacation?

  1. I have been getting more colds, headaches or stomach upsets.
  2. At night I feel as though I’ve “hit the wall” and just collapse into bed.
  3. My husband and I are living friendly but separate lives.
  4. The household looks as though a tornado hit it.
  5. I’m snapping more at my spouse or family.
  6. I am not as productive at work.

If three or more of these statements apply to you, then you would benefit from a brief vacation. Here are six tips and family and marriage advice about how a getaway can help.

Tips on the Benefits of Short Vacations

  1. Knowing you are going away increases work effectiveness. You get more focused and say no to the less urgent things at work—like going out to lunch or running across town to that new wine store. The prospect of a vacation can also spark better family functioning. Suddenly, mom realizes, for example, that she is doing too many of the family tasks. Preparing for the vacation heightens her awareness that she needs to delegate enough family responsibilities to her spouse and children.
  2. As work and family life gets out of control, the stress hormone cortisol compromises health and effectiveness. Bodies need a break from being in overdrive for too long.
  3. Brains need a vacation from stress hormones. When there is a work problem, over-concentrating on it blocks out good ideas. The brain repeats a person’s problem-solving habits. Using the same techniques lessens the expression of new solutions. Remember when a “lightning bolt of an idea” hit you while driving, cooking or taking a shower. This phenomenon happens when the brain is freed up to activate other neurons that permit new thoughts. So, try lying on the beach, strolling through a quaint town or bird-watching to allow the brain to relax its focus and invite in new plans.
  4. Busy professional, married women sometimes short-change their spouses emotionally and compromise happy family life. Vacations provide time to renew passion and closeness. A refreshed marriage produces the calming hormones that counteract the negative side effects of too many stress hormones.
  5. If you include your children on your vacation, you strengthen your relationships with them. When you and your children are having fun is one of the best times to introduce new family rules and responsibilities. During fun times because the brain’s pleasure hormones dominate, they can blunt children’s potential negative reactions to increased tasks and expectations.
  6. Brief vacations prompt a family to build a vacation fund by becoming more frugal and wise about spending. For example, each member can ask: “Do we really need to buy potato chips, ice cream or the latest magazine?” At the end of every week family members contribute to the vacation fund their savings.

This article first appeared in

*** For Women Only: If you would like to be part of Dr. Wish’s research for her next book on women’s love relationships and get one hour of FREE counseling, go to her website and click in the Research box in the upper right and take the online research survey. Be sure to include you contact information and the word SELFGROWTH so that Dr. Wish can contact you.

Author's Bio: 

LeslieBeth Wish is a Psychologist, Clinical Social Worker and author who is nationally recognized for her contributions to women, love, relationships, family, career, workplace, and organizations.

Additional Resources covering Family can be found at:
Website Directory for Family
Articles on Family
Products for Family
Discussion Board
Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, the Official Guide To Family