A Secret to Happiness: Take a Vacation.

One secret to happiness is knowing when to give yourself a break.

And now it’s vacation time for me. I’m off!  Back in a week.

Do you have trouble taking vacations? I always work during vacations, because I love to work, but I do take a break from certain kinds of work.

How about you?

  • I think that vacations are underrated, seriously. A vacation for me is a time to get away from it all, and most importantly – think. Space, peace and quiet is when the million-dollar ideas come, it’s when you come across the revelations that change your life. Without this thinking time you’re heading for burnout, a problem which seems to be spreading – fast. Nice thoughtful snippet 🙂

    • Weronika

      Thanks for an insightful post. These tips are really helpful. Again thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.Keep up the good work. Maybe you will find inspiration here

  • Barbara

    Have been on Spring Break this past week and it’s been very restful….I need the space to just be able to “be” and have been trying not to fill it with huge amounts of activities that wear me out…Enjoy your time off, Gretchen….Kansas City? Say hello to my hometown for me!

    • gretchenrubin

      Not Kansas City this time—alas. That’s my favorite place to go for vacation.

  • P.S.

    I think vacations are important to get away from everything that is normal to the everyday experience. And lying on the beach with an umbrella drink is one kind of vacation, which is relaxing and fun. Another type of vacation is to see and do things you never have had the chance to do-and that can be a real stretch for some people! And the best vacations are when you mix the two!
    I had a boss who when she went on vacation she drove the entire department crazy. She would be emailing us via her blackberry all day long. In her absence, the staff had picked up the slack and were dealing with the issues real-time. To receive her emails after the fact was maddening, and did not show much faith that her department was functioning well without her (which may have been the underlying problem). After several days of this, I emailed a response reminding her that she was on vacation and that if found ourselves stumbling over an issue, we would send her an email. Otherwise, she needed to relax and enjoy. That worked, for a couple of days! This is a story about how someone couldn’t take her vacation, and the impact it left on the folks at the office! Beware of the messages you send!

  • AHappyLass.com

    I’m not sure which country you live in but America has it all wrong! Most western European countries get at least 5 weeks of paid vacation a year. That’s how it should be! I think employers underestimate the productivity of a rested and happy employee. So I will be building it into my contract in my next job. I would much rather have less pay and more vaca time. Great post and have fun!

  • Ever since I started all of these little projects of mine, I find it difficult to give myself break and just enjoy things outside of my work. It’s a great thing that I’m so passionate about what I’m doing.

    For example, I’m sitting here watching a re-run of the tennis match between Nadal and Berdych and I close my laptop every ten minutes to force myself to focus on my enjoyment. The laptop keeps calling to me to work on something and I end up reading and writing. Ahhh!

  • Just took a little one this weekend! Too busy walking my legs off to work. But now I’m tired! It was fun though. 🙂

  • Annie Petersen

    I took a mini-vacation this weekend: I sat on my balcony and read a third of a book. After getting a little warm in the sun, I moved myself inside and sat on the couch. What happened next hasn’t happened in months. I fell asleep, hard, off into dreamland for two hours! It was the perfect many vacation. Oh, the sweet joy of calm surrender!

    • Sera Mattson

      Reading and napping? That sounds amazing!

  • I’m about to go on a short snowboard vacation in Switzerland. It takes a lot of preparation, since I’ve committed myself to blogging every day (about love, btw). So I have to write some blogs in advance. And yes… also during a vacation I am tempted to work… but since now I am going snowboarding and staying in a place where I don’t think there’s an internet connecting I won’t have a chance to work and that’s good! I need it. I also don’t have a smart phone so I won’t be tempted to check fb or anything. That’s what I call a real break 🙂

    Enjoy your holiday Gretchen!

  • Sera Mattson

    I have so much trouble taking vacations even though I desperately need them. My husband is worse and feels as if he can’t get away or he’ll let everyone down. Th other problem is that I feel guilty spending so much money to get away. I need to learn the art of the inexpensive getaway.

  • I’m on vacation now in South Africa, visiting my 90-year old granny! But I’m still working when I get downtime, also because I love what I do. If you love what you do, is that work? I know Happiness is a decision, and I’m happy building Uber in Phoenix. Do you think Happiness is a decision as well? http://blog.blainelight.com/2013/03/happiness-is-subjective.html

  • I’m reading ‘Happier at Home’ now and am loving it. I loved The Happiness Project and must admit that I did wonder what more you could come up with but you do a wonderful job of converting daily minutiae into a fascinating and inspirational read. Enjoy your vacation – you certainly deserve one!

  • Steve Grey

    Vacation is also another way to good health besides happiness. You free yourself from stress and worries. It recharges your strength when you get outside, do some walking, enjoy the view and laugh with friends and family. And that makes you happy!


  • Getting away is a must. Just getting out of town for a weekend and completely changing your routine can leave you feeling renewed.

  • I hope you are able to disconnect and enjoy your vacation!

  • Alisha john

    Post is really so nice and impressive.
    I liked it/ great idea.

  • Helen Wilson

    I agree, knowing when to take vacations or short breaks is one of the secrets of happiness. Just doing nothing but notice what’s happening around one for even 5 minutes can be a great stress reliever.

  • Sanna Estling Hellberg

    I just spent a week skiing in Italy, even though I had way too much studying and work to do. In the beginning I had a really difficult time enjoying the trip. Because I was so stressed out, I just got irritated by everything. There was no wi-fi on the hotel so it was difficult to get things done in time. In the end, however, and thanks to my own happiness project where this month’s focus is mindfulness, I managed to turn my mood around and allow myself to take a break – and enjoy it! I think it’s really important to do that once in a while. I just wrote a post about it here, where my mum and I blog about our separate happiness projects: http://mementovivereblog.wordpress.com

    Thank you, Gretchen, for all the inspiration, and enjoy your trip!

  • Bradley

    Yes I do find escaping it all can be very beneficial. I know how distractions from more stressful things in life can help and a vacation is like the ultimate way to take your mind off of things. I’m only I had the chance to take a vacation

  • molly

    I’m happy for Gretchen that she got to take a vacation, but this has gone on long enough:) Lol. I do miss her posts, though. Thought maybe she would be back this morning. Sigh…..

    • gretchenrubin

      I’ll be back tomorrow!

      • BKF

        Woohoo! 🙂

  • Evisen

    An inexpensive way to get a break is to have a day at home with nothing, and I mean nothing scheduled. Just being able to to whatever comes to mind, and if that is snoozing on the couch with my dog at my feet, that is what I need. Never under estimate the power of home.

  • Alison

    I booked a holiday in June this weekend. I’m happy with anticipation already and I haven’t even got on a plane yet.