WOW Word-Of-the-Week #469: Vacation

August 1, 2013 by  

Vacation time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation.

How much vacation have you taken this year? How much time do you devote each week for pleasure, rest or relaxation? Can you turn off all of your devices and just have some quiet time?

This week’s WOW felt like a good follow up to last weeks. The Tuesday UT Health section featured Scott LaFee’s article titled, “Taking a mental vacation.” He writes, “Too many problems, too little time?

Life’s myriad demands and stresses can seem overwhelming. Some folks, nonetheless, earnestly grapple with them, determined to address and fix them as soon as possible. The rest of us, well, we’re maybe not so motivated. It’s not like our problems won’t be there tomorrow.

Turns out a little procrastination can aid problem-solving. Canadian researchers report that people who actively distract themselves, who occasionally take their minds off their pressing problems are more adept at eventually resolving them.


“Avoidance in terms of taking a mental break is so crucial to managing multiple responsibilities as long as it doesn’t cross over into wishful thinking,” said study author Bonnie Hayden Cheng at the University of Toronto. “Our resources are finite and need to be replenished, so it’s important to not only physically recover, but mentally recover as well.”

Mind you, the distraction part is temporary. Ultimately, you have to deal with your problems, said the scientists. The third option of just wishing them away almost never works, though everyone wishes it did.

This week’s focus is on taking a “mental vacation.” What is the best day and time for you to rest and relax? Have you ever gotten stressed trying to find something? Have you ever let it go only to remember later where it was? How would it feel to temporarily take your mind off a pressing problem?