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Has this election season left you feeling down? Depressed? Anxious? Well you’re not alone.  In fact, the American Psychological Association found that more than half of U.S. adults, regardless of party, felt very or somewhat stressed by the election —which puts it in line with other major life stressors, such as the economy, money or work.

It has gotten so bad that Steven Stosny, a therapist in suburban Washington D.C., has even characterized what he’s seeing in his patients as “Election Stress Disorder.

One great way to help you feel better during this stressful time is to step back, take a deep breath and PLAN YOUR NEXT VACATION!

Simply beginning to plan a vacation can take your mind off of the stressors bringing you down.  Instead of focusing on the negatives surrounding this election, use your day to whisk yourself away to a better place. There is a world of options out there just waiting to be explored!

We know that taking vacations are proven to be good for a person’s health. There have been numerous studies that show vacations lower stress levels and decrease depression.   Take some time to plan one and knowing that you have a vacation to look forward to can help you overcome Election Stress Disorder.

And just think – it’s almost over!

snowy-moutain-resort_vb
A recent popular trend has become share or peer-to-peer vacations – like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway – where vacationers rent rooms or houses directly from homeowners.  For most families a vacation is a once-a-year event, where everything needs to go right to fully enjoy the relaxation a vacation provides.  Yet, people are still going on vacations that don’t fully meet their needs, even through these peer-to-peer services.

While this type of vacation can work for some people, a recent survey of over 1,000 vacationers conducted for the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) by research group Leger revealed many drawbacks.  Respondents said they least liked the fact that there was no housekeeping (47%), no concierge/front desk (23%), and that it was not a part of a resort (17%).

Now while this survey showed the things vacationers who use peer-to-peer services did not like, it also showed some of the things that they found very beneficial to their vacation enjoyment.  Two of the main things respondents cited were the fact that their rented unit had a kitchen and that there were multiple rooms.

So, what offers these in-demand amenities without the downside of the drawbacks found in peer-to-peer rentals?  Timeshare!

According to a recent article in Hotel Management Magazine, “A quick glance at the media hype surrounding Airbnb, HomeAway and other sharing economy hotel alternatives would lead many to believe that these companies are the founders of a new concept that is revolutionizing the industry. But, in fact, another facet of the hotel industry­—timeshare—considers itself the ‘original’ sharing economy, and has the facts to make a compelling case.”

Timeshare accommodations offer a large living space that includes a kitchen for when you want to cook your own meals as well as multiple rooms that give you both space to be together as a family or privacy to be alone.  And, most timeshares also offer housekeeping, a concierge/front desk and a resort style property.  Ultimately, timeshares offer the size and space that peer-to-peer services offer while also providing the key amenities that have almost become expected during a vacation. The last thing you should be thinking on vacation is vacuuming!

By Catherine Reynolds, Associate Manager of External Communications, RCI

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Today’s traveler is looking to take something new away from their vacation, and that is often taking the form of newly obtained knowledge. They want to see or do something they never thought possible. In fact, there’s a growing case for experiential travel as the new norm. TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer: 2016 Travel Trends study reported that 25 percent of millennials choose their vacation destination because they are able to do an activity that was not possible elsewhere.

Of this same group, 43 percent even reported that they would be willing to spend more on trips that allowed them to visit somewhere on their wish list. While we often hear this said of millennials, it’s not just for the young and single travelers. Globally, 69 percent of all travelers plan to try something new in 2016 according to TripAdvisor, showing that travelers of all ages are looking for new and novel experiences. Experiential travelers are looking for four main things in a vacation: First Hand Experiences, One-of-a-kind Properties, Fully Immersive Vacations and Experiences of the Future. But where can Experiential Travelers experience all four of these amenities? At timeshares across the world, of course!

First-Hand Experiences

Grupo Vidanta recently announced the opening of new Cirque du Soleil® themed properties that perfectly provide these types of experiences. Opening in 2018 in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, the properties will be intertwined
with a Cirque du Soleil® theme park, where travelers will be able to move beyond spectatorship to become characters within the park’s interactive stage and experience Cirque as never before. An on-site Cirque school takes the experience to new heights and in doing so, travelers will
get a taste of what it is like to actually be
a part of a Cirque du Soleil performance,
an experience that they aren’t able to have anywhere else.

One-of-a-kind Properties

Vacation ownership developers are also creating properties that give travelers a chance to experience accommodations like never before. Karisma Hotels & Resorts capitalized on an opportunity
to create Latin America’s only overwater bungalows with its soon-to-open Palafitos-Overwater Bungalows property in Mexico. It comprises 30 elegant suites with spectacular views, glass bottom floors and private infinity pools, as well as beautiful and well-appointed accommodations where guests and members will enjoy awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets. An experience not offered in many locations.

Fully Immersive Vacations

Family vacations have always been in the wheelhouse of benefits for the vacation ownership industry with the additional space and amenities provided at most properties. Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ new Nickelodeon Hotel & Resort Punta Cana property sets a precedent. This upscale resort mixes luxurious amenities with fun-for-the-whole-family experiences centered around Nickelodeon characters. But it’s not all just for kids! Adults can also experience a family vacation without sacrificing luxury and relaxation. The white sand beaches, tropical beverages, and Karisma’s Gourmet Inclusive Experience help ensure that the grown-ups have the vacation they want, too.

Experiences of the Future

As the appetite for experiential travel continues to grow across all population segments, the timeshare industry is perfectly positioned to offer these types of vacations!

But “GVS” affects every worker, not just Millennials – does it affect you?

What is GVS?
Guilty Vacation Syndrome, or GVS, now affects a growing percentage of the American population. GVS is the nagging urge to cancel or delay vacation, due to guilt. With vacation-shaming growing in offices across the world, there has been a surge in diagnoses of GVS. Many feel that despite wanting a vacation, they shouldn’t take one.

In fact, findings from the 2016 Alamo Family Vacation Survey show 59 percent of Millennials reported feeling a sense of shame for taking or planning a vacation, while 41 percent those 35 or older felt those same symptoms of GVS. Nearly half (47 percent) of all workers surveyed said they felt a sense of shame or guilt at their workplace for taking time off to go on a vacation. What’s more, two-fifths (42 percent) of those think their co-workers are seriously shaming them – not just joking. And nearly half (47 percent) said they’ve felt the need to justify to their employer why they’re using their vacation days. Of those who reported having unused paid vacation days, two-fifths (40 percent) said they left five or more vacation days unused in 2015! A full week of work left on the table simply because workers do not want to deal with the guilt associated with taking a vacation.

Recent research from Project: Time Off shows that an astounding fifty-five percent of Americans didn’t use all of their time off in 2015 and sixty-five percent say that their company discourages, sends mixed messages, or says nothing about taking personal time off.

Are You at Risk?
It’s clear that everyone is at risk for contracting GVS. Americans are already more likely than any of our counterparts around the world to leave vacation time on the table and may go years without ever taking that break to rejuvenate and reenergize.

Symptoms
The symptoms often go undetected or are mistaken for other, less serious ailments.
Symptoms include:
• Misplaced emotions
• Indecisiveness
• Sadness

Treatment and Care
There are many success stories out there, so there is definitely hope! People are learning to embrace vacation—with no second-guessing, stress or guilt.

Proven remedies for GVS include:
• Realize that vacations are a necessity and not a luxury;
• Commit to an annual vacation—a recipe for stronger ties with families and friends, less stress and better health;
• Learn from those that have never suffered from this malady; timeshare owners have continued to make vacations a priority.

It’s proven that one to two weeks away from the daily routine leads to better job performance and productivity—perhaps helping to make your job even more secure when you return to it.

Research proves that Americans who take time to plan how they will use their vacation time in the year ahead are happier than those who do not.  Simply having something to look forward to—like a vacation—improves your happiness. But nearly half of American households fail to take the simple step of planning their time off, a step that can be made much easier by having a timeshare.

Here are some simple steps to make sure that you don’t make the mistake of not using all of your vacation time:

First, confirm your paid time off benefits.  Don’t take someone else’s word for it, confirm what you have available by asking your manager or HR director.  After this is accomplished, the next important step is to review your calendar for the year to see when you could actually take a vacation.

Now, the fun part: this is where your dreams and goals come in. What are you going to cross off your bucket list this year? Where have you been wanting to travel? What are you dying to try? You don’t necessarily need to know what you’ll do with every vacation day—just plan the days off now. Getting it on the calendar is what matters most.

Finally, it is time to talk with your boss and colleagues about your plans to take time off.  But don’t be anxious: nearly all senior business leaders believe vacation time benefits their employees – and the company.

It’s time to stop feeling guilty about trying to take a vacation each year and remember there are many health and wellness benefits that come along with an annual vacation.  You work hard all year, you deserve to have some well-earned, time off.  With a timeshare you are ensuring that you take a vacation each year since it is already prepaid!


Spending too much time at work, instead of with family? Can’t remember the last time you took a real vacation?  The toll this takes on your personal life may be harming you more than you know,” says Today Show’s Sheinelle Jones. Citing research from The Work Martyr’s Affair study, Jones notes that a curious thing has happened in America. In less than 15 years, U.S. workers have lost a week of vacation time. For decades, Americans used more than 20 vacation days, but now they have hit an all-time low, taking just 16 days off each year. This results in Work Martyr Syndrome, which quietly creeps into employees’ home lives, creating a major divide between the people American workers want to be and the people they are.

Project: Time Off’s study, “The Work Martyr’s Affair: How America’s Lost Week Quietly Threatens Our Relationships,” warns that America’s Lost Week is harming relationships with the people who matter most and, what’s worse, the damage may be done before it’s realized. Respondents assert that people who fail to use time off are losing out on quality time with their significant other, their children, and themselves, but still four in ten workers leave time off on the table!

Not taking these extra days off has been statistically proven to damage personal relationships.  More than one in three couples argue about the time needed for work versus the amount of quality time needed for each other.  The average person misses more than three events a year. The number one missed event is a child’s activity (35%). But employees are also missing out on vacations (25%), visiting family (20%), and even funerals (10%) due to work. As Dr. Lotte Bailyn put it “There is an obvious disconnect with what people say they want from life and what they actually do.  You see a conflicting identity. You’re supposed to be the good family person, but also this ideal worker.”

Because so many days off are not taken it is recommended to plan out a vacation in advance, which can really make a difference.  In fact, the 54 percent of households that set aside time to plan out the use of paid time off for the year are happier in almost every category measured in the survey.  With a timeshare you are prepaying for your vacations each year, guaranteeing a regular vacation. And with options all over the world a timeshare could be the perfect getaway to combat your work martyr syndrome and bring the family closer together.

Jenna Birch of Yahoo! Health has examined the key roles vacations play to our overall health, and the many detriments of overworking ourselves.

Why are we OK with burnout?

Americans are work martyrs. We leave $224 billion in unused vacation time on balance sheets each year and there are a lot of reasons for this! First, you won’t be in the office for that presentation your team’s been working on. Second, someone else will inevitably have to pick up your slack. Third, how much of a break will you really be getting? You’ll be tuned in to your buzzing phone anyway, (just in case of a work emergency, of course) or sifting through emails (so you won’t have to dig through them when you return, right?). On second thought, maybe it’s easier to put off that vacation until things “slow down.”

There is a high tendency to rationalize skipping vacation days to prevent the feeling of falling behind. Vacation time is not wasted time, though. It’s valuable time that we aren’t utilizing.

Why Aren’t We Taking Time Off?

Today, our work defines us more than ever before. Imagine going to a dinner party, where you must introduce yourself to a handful of new people. What do you say? According to psychologist Karla Ivankovich, PhD, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Springfield, we used to define ourselves by our own interests, our families or relationships. But these days, “most people introduce themselves by what they do, rather than who they are,” Ivankovich says.

Our minds are always consumed by the demands of the job, probably more so now than ever before. Workplace culture has shifted — even from just a couple decades ago. Seniority, loyalty, and longevity have been replaced by youth, productivity, and economy.

How Do We Break Away?

But it is important to leave work behind. If possible, you should go bigger rather than smaller, because more than a couple days off will give you the best mental boost.  While scheduling that time away is definitely doable, it’s not as easy to actually rest while you’re taking time off.

Can’t take your mind off what you might be missing? Then you might need to really remove the temptation of checking in on work. Maybe leave your phone behind on the beach trip — except for a half hour of checking emails in the morning, at lunch, and at night. Or maybe you designate one full hour at night dealing with work correspondence. Or maybe — eek! — you decide to go completely Internet-free.

Timeshare vacations can help ensure you take regular vacations, since you are pre-paying for them. This discipline will help you find that week you need to break away from your job, and with locations all over the world, you can get as far away from work as you may need.

To read Jenna’s entire article visit Yahoo! Health here.

 

American workers are overwhelmed. After years of being asked to “do more with less” workers are overstretched, stressed out, and exhausted. The always-on, 24/7 American work culture is taking a heavy toll, leading to 429 million wasted vacation days that completely undermine personal well-being. In fact, Americans are taking the least amount of vacation in nearly 40 years. Vacations can have significant results in boosting a person’s health and well-being.

Some of the most compelling statistics in favor of vacations revolve around an individual’s heart health. According to a recent Health Net article:

  • A study that followed 12,000 men over a nine-year period that had a high risk for coronary heart disease, found that the men who take frequent annual vacations were 21 percent less likely to die from any cause and were 32 percent more likely to die from heart disease.
  • A second study – the largest and longest-running study of cardiovascular disease – revealed that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks compared to men who did take time off.
  • In addition, women who took a vacation only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.

Beyond heart health, there is a case to be made for vacations helping to decrease depression, lessen stress and improve productivity. Health Net also cites other studies that find:

  • Women who vacationed less often than once every two years were more likely to suffer from depression and increased stress than women who took vacations at least twice a year.
  • Vacations work to reduce stress by removing people from activities and environments that tend to be sources of stress.
  • For each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8 percent, and frequent vacationers also were significantly less likely to leave their job.

It is clear and proven that consistent work without taking a break is detrimental to a person’s well being. Yet workers are still not taking all of their earned vacation days.  For a healthy lifestyle it is essential to try to vacation regularly.  Timeshare owners are great at this, since by prepaying for their timeshare they will be more likely to take a yearly vacation…resulting in increased health and wellness benefits!

Each year, research shows us that Americans are using less of our vacation days. But not taking a break can lead to stress overload and other potentially damaging effects on your health, experts say.

According to U.S. News & World Report, vacations offer the chance to relax and restore your overall well-being. But simply taking a hiatus from your demanding workday schedule isn’t enough. Traveling somewhere new can enable you to immerse yourself in new surroundings, boost your brain power and fully recharge. With this in mind here are five key reasons why taking a vacation is beneficial to the mind, body and soul.

  1. You’ll Recharge Emotionally and Increase Empathy – Vacationing – especially near the water – can help us reset your emotions and actually increase compassion.
  2. You’ll Get Back in Shape – It may seem backwards to think of a vacation as a way to increase your fitness routine, however travelers are often more active than sitting in an office chair all day. Tourists also may walk as much as ten miles a day while sightseeing in places like Europe or Disney World.
  3. You’ll Engage in New Surroundings and Eliminate Stress – according to Dr. Margaret J. King, director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, “’There are lots of psychological benefits from change of venue devoted to just experiencing the environment. With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind and body can reset…with stress relief the main outcome.”
  4. You’ll Wind Down and Rest Up — Max Hirshkowitz, Chairman of the Board of the National Sleep Foundation, says traveling is a great opportunity to catch up on sleep due to the already relaxing nature of a vacation.
  5. You’ll Boost Your Mood — Many studies suggest that travel can improve your emotional state. A 2014 survey conducted by Diamond Resorts International found over three-quarters of respondents reported feeling happier when they planned a trip at least once a year.

Timeshare vacations are a great way to make sure you experience all of these benefits. Timeshares are prepaid, which increases the likelihood that you won’t skip vacation! These regular vacations result in many health and wellness benefits.  In addition, timeshare offers an endless variety of vacation options with resorts all around the world and flexible programs, so that you can vacation when and where you want.