Americans aren't very good at having fun. A recent Glassdoor study found that American workers only used half of their eligible vacation time during the past 12 months. And even when they took time off, 61 percent admitted to doing some work while they were on vacation. Top reasons for not relaxing: fear that no one else can adequately do the job in one's absence, followed by a fear of falling further behind.
I relate to this syndrome. Just the other day I told my husband how appealing it would be to take a "staycation" this summer. The problem is that unless I literally leave my routine behind, it's difficult for me to unplug from work and not check e-mail or chip away at work projects. We have a few road trips on the calendar, but with summer around the corner, I want to make the most of this fleeting season. Simply put, I want to have some fun. For me, this means spending time planting and tending our vegetable garden. It means hitting the bike path for cycling and running as often as I can, and heading to the community pool to visit with neighbors. It means barbecues and chasing fireflies with our grandson.
What I often overlook when I'm fantasizing about how I'll spend my summer vacation is that gardening and biking and running (even chasing fireflies) are aerobic activities. They require a degree of fitness to be able to enjoy them for more than 20 minutes at a time. Plus, if all you get after a few hours in the garden are sore muscles and a strained back, where's the fun in that?1