Why You Deserve Time Off

This isn’t completely travel-related, but for some, it might be.

Like many other Americans, I am a hoarder of my accrued time off. It is a combination of a million “just in case” mental scenarios as well as a general environment that we cultivate here in the States that taking time off for anything that isn’t an emergency or family-related is equivalent to laziness. The only time you get a ‘social’ pass is for that one-week, all-inclusive beach trip you planned eight to 10 months in advance where you will likely still find yourself working remotely.

Why do we restrict ourselves from utilizing our time off? Correction: why do we restrict ourselves from utilizing time off that we worked for and is paid? And when we do use time off, why don’t we fully enjoy it? I understand I am in an ideal position where my only responsibility at the moment is myself; I don’t have to worry about having a safety stash based on kids’ schedules, an elderly member of my family that depends on me for care, or even getting sick (*knock on wood*). But it is also no secret that I struggle with a mental illness and I have to face the fact that I might need a day here and there to just re-stabilize.

The idea for this post came to me because I am currently saving my time off for a long birthday trip I am taking to Europe at the end of May. With the exception of two pre-planned days, I have not taken time off, or been on a plane, since this past October. Working in operations, I didn’t get the holidays off so it has been nonstop for me for the last six months. I finally took a trip this weekend to break the fly-atus for which I did not have to use any time off, but even waiting for this weekend to arrive has shown me that maybe it is time to start investing in time off at home.

Like many other people, I feel not only lazy, but also guilty to be sitting at home while others are working. I also get that feeling around mid-afternoon where I think to myself, “You’re wasting a whole day.” How can that be if my intention for that day was to relax and reset my mind? Naturally, I then take myself into a downward spiral of how I could have saved this time for a trip I have always wanted to go on, but this is why I used the term ‘invest’ in time off. It is going to take more than putting my physical self in a different space–I have to remind myself that I worked for these days, I am entitled to these days, and understand that I will ultimately be a better person to others in my social and professional settings because of it. No matter how much sleep you get or what you do when you get home from work, everyone experiences burnout from the rotating demands of everyday life.

Think about it: what benefit do you get from hoarding your time for one week (or a little more) of vacation when you have to work the other 51 weeks of the year? That’s a long time to go without a break! I have explained many times on this blog that my work schedule is not a traditional schedule. So while I would love to just take a day every month to tack onto my weekend to go on a trip, the people I like to travel with have to bend to their own struggle with time off to coordinate with me. This is partly why I have been trying to find new things to do here in Dallas, but also why I need to find solace in the silence of not having anywhere to be or anyone to talk to.

Travel will always be my preferred way to regroup, so I understand more than anyone that saving up your time to go on a vacation is a higher priority than one day’s rest on the couch. But the point is that if you ever feel you do need that one day’s rest or just a mental escape from the monotony of the daily routine, you should indulge and not feel guilty for it. Hopefully nobody reading this is as close to the edge of burnout as I am currently and can instead pick and plan a day to take care of themselves in whatever way they see fit. Remember: you worked for it, you are entitled to it, and you will ultimately be a better person to others when you take a break every now and then for yourself.

xx, AE

Pop-Up in Fair Park

Pop-Up in Fair Park

Last week, Ilse and I visited Dallas’ latest pop-up exhibition here in Dallas, Rainbow Vomit!! Similar to Sweet Tooth Hotel, we had a timed slot to explore and get as many pictures as humanly possible. There wasn’t really a theme, but it was surprisingly more subtle than the title of the exhibition might suggest.

Given that we arrived about 15 minutes late after traffic, parking, and filling out the waiver at the beginning, we only had 45 minutes to explore so we opted to just take pictures on my phone instead of breaking out the ol’ DSLR (apologies in advance for the quality).

I still preferred the leisurely atmosphere of Psychedelic Robot, but this exhibition was way more relaxed than Sweet Tooth Hotel. It wasn’t very crowded on the Thursday evening we went and the space isn’t big so we did not feel rushed at all. However, if you go on a weekend, I can imagine it can be a madhouse and you will essentially be saying “excuse me” every 15 seconds. So keep that in mind when buying tickets!

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Somewhere New

Somewhere New

If you read my post this past Sunday, you will know that I set out to have monthly goals this year instead of a full year’s worth of resolutions. For February, my goal was to go somewhere new. As I explained in my previous post, plans to leave the state fell through, so in order to accomplish this, I decided to take a little hour-ish road trip with my mom down to Waco, Texas to visit Magnolia Market at the Silos. If you watch HGTV, I don’t have to tell you what this is, but in case you don’t, here’s a little synopsis:

This past year, the most popular show on HGTV, “Fixer Upper,” had its final season. It became a fan favorite based on the hilarious couple, Chip and Joanna “Jo” Gaines, not only because of their college-sweetheart dynamic, but their creation process for little less-loved homes in Waco, Texas–home of Baylor University. For the last five years, we have seen Jo’s incredible graphic designs and Chip’s unconventional renovation tactics completely re-establish Waco as a hot spot in Texas. On top of the work they were already doing for the community, they turned their beloved home, Magnolia Farm, into a business. Enter: Magnolia Market at the Silos. You can find (of course) a market, a garden, a bakery, and food trucks galore at this site. There are designated lots for large vehicles and tour buses and you can either pay $10 for parking next to the bakery, or you can follow the signs for free parking in an unpaved lot next to the food truck entrance. There is a also a trolley that will take you into downtown Waco which I will get into later.

β—Š Magnolia Market
The market is chock-full of Chip and Joanna’s products from candles to kitchenware to apparel to books!

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A Quiet Winter

A Quiet Winter

Happy March, everyone!

First and foremost, I should apologize. I am sorry that I disappeared without a trace after making a declaration about 2019. There wasn’t a particular reason except for the fact that I have not had any new content. Aside from continuing to regularly update my YouTube channel, life has been very slow and quiet.

Per my last post, I have been diligently trying to center in on improving the quality of my life, so I have been setting monthly goals. For January, it was all about fitness. I signed up with a gym after losing the motivation battle to work out at home and I have been loving it. I am still struggling to find the confidence to explore the weight-side of the gym because the other gym-goers are pretty intense, but this fitness journey is about small steps. Even on days when the workout isn’t great or I desperately want that extra hour of sleep, I am proud of myself for getting up and going. It has been two months of a fairly regular routine and I have reignited that desire to workout and no longer see it as a chore. Since this journey is about small steps, I am not measuring my physical changes so that I do not obsess over it and take myself down a self-deprecating path. But I like to think I am making strides.

I also decided to do dry-January just because. I don’t drink heavily and unless I am out with friends, I rarely drink at all. However, I wanted to challenge myself in social settings. I only went out with friends a couple of times that month and saw a noticeable difference in how I interact. It was at first a more negative response because I felt left out of the ‘social high,’ but I eventually learned to navigate it to where I still have fun and know when my version of last call is. I have a more well-rounded understanding of my social ‘battery life,’ for lack of a better description. While I can say I much prefer to join in on the fun, I am able to now go out in social settings and not give a second thought to the decision to stay sober. My body also thanks me the following day.

February’s goal was to go somewhere new. I had not been on a plane since October and I started to develop anxiety about flying again. Part of that anxiety, however, was because I felt an itch to get back out there. Since my job is in operations (a.k.a. no company holidays), I didn’t get that time-off refresher between Christmas and New Year’s. Not to mention, I was trying to save as much time off for a trip this summer (America, am I right?). I felt a little burnt out and needed to see some new sights. Unfortunately, all of my plans to hop on a plane fell apart, so I had to improvise. Technically, I accomplished my February goal on March 1st, but I still managed to go somewhere new: Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, popularly recognized by Americans from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” with Chip and Joanna Gaines.

I will have a post about that mini road trip on Thursday (March 7th), but I am actually really looking forward to this month. I have a couple of concerts I am going to and a potential international trip (fingers crossed!), so it feels like I’m finally starting to have a life again. I am making it a point to find things to write about on here because I have ideas, but I am curious if people would be interested. I really want to write more about pre- and post-travel experiences because there are obviously times like now when I am not traveling. Overall, I want to have relevant and interesting content. What do you guys think? I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have!! Let me know in the comments or on my Contact page πŸ™‚

xx, AE