Today, March 20th, has been proclaimed by the United Nations as “International Happiness Day.” Is it a coincidence that it occurs during the same month that North American colleges shut down for a week and students flock to the beach?
Ahhh, spring break. A time of year Luke Bryan and Jimmy Buffet sound like metaphysical poets. A time where the ability to do a keg stand is considered a virtue.
You need to go on spring break.
No, you are not too old. Who cares if you are at the point of life where the last time you were on campus was for your reunion? Like the rest of us living north of the equator, if you have spent the winter commuting between snowdrifts, you need to escape. Seasonal affective disorder during the extremes of winter (and summer) is real, as I have written before. It is a time when workers in general show signs of depression and their work suffers, and it is at its worst right about now as winter drags on. A break will help.
A spring break.
It has probably been a while since you have been on spring break, so let “Psychology at Work”perform a public service and provide a few rules and reminders:
Rule 1: Go on spring break. No excuses. Book a plane or hop in a minivan with friends or family and road trip. It doesn’t have to be a full week; three days counts as spring break in my book.
Rule 2: Do not break rule 1. No excuses, I said.
Rule 3: Spring break must be on a beach. I know some will claim skiing counts, but it is called spring break — not snow and ice break, for god’s sake. You need to feel the first hint of a summer breeze, get a whiff of bougainvillea and have sand in your sheets for it to count. And no, don’t tell me Las Vegas is a place to take spring break. Vegas is for bachelor parties; those are different.
Rule 4: Spring break must have no socially redeeming value. I have respect for the earnest types who rack up service hours over spring break de-worming orphans in Somalia, but that doesn’t serve the cobweb-clearing purposes spring break was meant for. If you want meaning on your break, try winning the Mullet Toss at the Flora-Bama.
Rule 5: No regrets. Don’t come back to the office whining about eating too much, getting sunburned, being hungover, staying up too late, etc. Forget about it; no regrets. Unless you do something really bad like get a snootfull of blue meth and knock over a liquor store. Then regrets are OK, importanteven, to your parole officer.
Rule 6: What happens on spring break stays on spring break. And Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Have fun, but don’t be stupid. Check your inner compass every now and then, especially after 3-1 shot night at the Green Parrot. Assume your boss and family are going to find out whatever you do — particularly if it’s something bad. So don’t do it. There is a vast difference between acting a little silly with your friends and doing something that’ll get you booked on Jerry Springer. Or divorced.
Rule 7: Pace yourself and be smart. Veteran spring breakers know how to keep it between the lines. You are going on spring break to have fun, not to catch up on your sleep, but don’t crash and burn. Good rule of thumb — if you are on your third rum punch before 11 a.m., you aren’t going to last. And you’ll probably violate Rule 6.
Go on spring break— before the end of the month. If you need a written excuse, show this to your boss. Promise an ROI. You’ll think of something. If nothing else, your mental state will be far improved and you’ll be more productive at work. Until Opening Day.