Tag Archives: Six Years

Vacation Or Die!

by Richard

The second-worst week of any working year is the week just before you leave on vacation. Of course, the worst week of any working year is the week right after you return from vacation.

Ah, dudes. But those actual vacation days. Those are some good days, indeed.

And, it turns out, they just might be saving your life. In a column, Dan Obeidallah asks if you wanted  to have that heart attack. And, if you didn’t, why didn’t you take the vacation days that could have helped stave it off?

Here’s the deal. Studies have shown that not taking vacations is linked to health problems. And if people skip vacations, there’s a chance that they may die younger than those who don’t.

I think employers should be required to post warning labels in the workplace similar to those on cigarettes packs. I’d love to see a big sign in the break room that reads: “WARNING: Working too many weeks without a vacation is going to kill you. Seriously, you are going to die from it.”

One study found that men at high risk for coronary heart disease, and who failed to take annual vacations, were 32% more susceptible to dying from a heart attack.

Another study compared women who vacationed at least twice a year to those who took one every six years or less. Astoundingly, the women who did not vacation annually were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack.

All of which is too bad for a lot of Americans. In this country, we’re practically obsessed with the idea of proving our toughness, our fitness through work, and one of the ways we do that, is to not take vacation or sick days. I mean, I’ve heard some dudes boast about not having taken a vacation day in years.

I just plain don’t understand dudes like that. Vacations are something you earn by working hard during the year. They allow you to take a little time, stop stressing over stuff that is, in the long run, pretty unimportant. If you work at it, you can even get some perspective, and that never hurts.

The average American uses only 12 of her 14 vacation days each year. In Europe, that average is closer to 20. It’s not even a question to ask which economic entity has a higher life expectancy. Europe of course.

If saving your life isn’t enough of a reason to take a few vacations, here is another: People who take annual vacations are more productive.

A 2010 study found that 35% of Americans feel better about their job and are more productive after a vacation. Vacations have been found to help us recharge — we sleep better during them and for a period of time afterwards. And our brain responses become quicker after vacations.

So what’s the point of all this? Simply to make sure you think about taking the vacation days you’ve earned. Especially considering it’s summer and your little dude is not in school, which makes this the perfect time to take a few days and see things from the viewpoint of a younger dude for once in a while.

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Perseverance Takes Sooooo Long

by Richard

You dudes didn’t listen to me, did you? Nope. You had to go an make a New Year’s resolution to start getting back into shape and lose weight. I can tell because the YMCA where I work out is so very, very crowded.

It’s okay. I understand. Really I do. Which is why I’m here to help you out.

Making a resolution is easy. So easy you dudes do something like it every year. It’s keeping those resolutions that makes it a bit harder to feel good about ourselves. Especially those resolutions about getting back into shape or losing 10 pounds or getting rid of that beer belly (especially if you don’t want to get rid of the beer as well.).

So here’s the deal.

One of the best ways you can keep that fitness resolution is to find a workout buddy, someone who you won’t want to strangle when they manage to reach your goal without any apparent effort on their part while you’re struggling to even get up in the morning. Someone who will meet you at the gym or at the track or out on the road on a bike.

Basically, it’s the old shame offense. See, if you’re on your own, it’s really, really easy to roll over when the alarm sounds an hour early and just go back to sleep. After all, you’ll surely get up on time tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow’s good.

If you’ve got a workout buddy, though, it’s a lot harder to just blow it off. For one thing, your workout buddy is counting on you being there (even if only to make him look good just by standing next to him) and you don’t want to be the cause of his problem. Secondly, your workout buddy can also be an encouraging force, urging you to show up and get better. Urging you to do just one more rep, come on, you lump, you can do one more rep, my grandmother could do another rep and she’s been dead for six years! Or something like that.

Go find a workout buddy now and keeping up with your silly resolution will be all that much easier.

Or course, I said nothing about giving up the beer being any easier.


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And They’re Off. . .

by Richard

As you’re reading this today, I’m probably on the road again. Today I’m shipping the last of the little dudes off to a camp of some kind. Hyper Lad is off for his fifth year at the Y’s Camp Cheerio.

This is his first year at camp by himself. In his previous years, Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy were both there. Since then, though, first Sarcasmo and then Zippy the Monkey Boy have aged out of the camp. Leaving not-so-little Hyper Lad as the only Jonesboy there.

He said he’s a bit nervous and a bit excited to be on his own. Personally, I can’t wait.

Due to scheduling problems, Hyper Lad’s trip to camp will give us the only little-dude-free time of the summer. For approximately two days. On Tuesday, Sarcasmo will be returning from New Orleans and his time spent helping to rehabilitate houses and neighborhoods that still suffer damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Of course, since he’s basically mythical (in that he seems to have grown unnaturally accustomed to staying in the family room and his room most of the time) it’ll probably still seem a bit like we’ve an empty nest, but I will have to cook for him, so I’ll know he’s there. Not least because all the snacks in the pantry will be disappearing at a prodigious rate.

Next year, we’ve really got to coordinate the schedules a little better, I’ll tell you that much. Considering what we’re having to spend to get them out of the house, the least they could do would be to allow us a little time by ourselves.

Of course, when I say that, I really mean just me since She Who Must Be Working will be, oddly enough, at work most of the day.

Still, it should be interesting practice for that day, only six years into the future, when Hyper Lad is off to college and I have to find something constructive to do.

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