Apr 2015

Why skipping your vacation could be sabotaging your success

Today I’m going to tell you how sipping pina coladas poolside can save your life.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the past few months have been stressful.  Running a company, being the primary parent, bringing home the dough, being pregnant and never seeing Jonathan was really starting to wear me down.  I was at the point where I knew that if we didnt take some time for us, our marriage, my sanity and my work were going to take a huge hit.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.  I’m guessing you’ve felt this way before, and maybe do right now.  Well, we’re going to handle this together.

My family growing up was always great at taking vacations, even if it meant piling in the car and driving 3 hours to our friends weekend house in New Hampshire on a random weekend, so I’ve always understood the power of getting away.

I also know how taking a vacation can fall to the bottom of the priority list.  How we can feel selfish doing something so extravagant for ourselves.  How it can feel too expensive or that we just don’t have the time.

Did you know that 40% of Americans only take half of their paid time off?  And 60% of Americans work while they are on vacation?  If this doesn’t surprise you, please keep reading.

Most people think that working hard and putting in the extra facetime will lead to greater success later, but the reality is that the opposite is true.  Today, I want to tell you why not taking a vacation is actually sabotaging your success (in work, relationships and your body) and what to do about your work life balance.

While I was in Mexico I read Arianna Huffiington’s “Thrive”, a fabulous book that clearly shows through copious research how critical it is to tend to your well being when it comes to your success as a person and a business woman.  The statistic that blew me away the most was that women who have stressful jobs have a 40% increased risk of heart disease and 60% greater chance of diabetes.  WHAT!? That is crazy.

She also goes onto to show how taking time for things like meditation, sleep and vacation significantly increase your overall earning ability, disproving the commonly adopted belief that the harder we work the more we will make.

The truth is that, especially as women, the more rested and grounded we are, the more focused, productive and creative we are.  I bet as you are reading this you’re thinking, “Duh Sarah, of course.” But are you actually living by this truth?  I’m guessing no.

I talk a lot about how to push the reset button by bringing in little breaks and bits of fun during the day.  I actually have a whole free challenge devoted to this practice, which you can sign up for here: The Live More Weigh Less Lifestyle Challenge.

And today, I want to help you push a BIGGER reset button on your well-being: vacation.  As you know, I am completely obsessed with you and the other women here taking action, so grab a pen and a piece of paper and I want you to answer the following questions….


Now, going through this process is really important, because a lot us can start planning the wrong vacation!  Jonathan and I were supposed to go to Israel last week to see his extended family.  We were all set to go and a few months ago I had a full fledged panic attack.  24 hours of travelling pregnant with a toddler, a 10 hour time change and needing to deal with jet lag after the trip during the first week of Live More Weigh Less would’ve been debilitating.  I love his family so much, and if we could teleport there for a few days it would be amazing, but it was just too much for us, so we opted for a more low key week.  We’re excited to make the trip next year when work is slow, and we can have a few days after to sleep and introduce both of our kiddos to the Israeli pack.  So, I want you to take a second to make sure that the vacation you are planning is really perfect for you right now.  I know it’s not easy to cancel things and let people down, but we have to be so deeply committed to our own soul and well-being because no one else is going to.

Here are some pictures from our trip last week:


So here’s what I want to know, what is the best vacation you have ever taken?  Share it below so we can all get some great ideas.  And I would also love to know what your dream vacation is and when you are going to take it, so we can help you figure out the details and hold you accountable.

I can’t wait to hear about your big plans.




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  • Sarah,
    once again you have hit the nail on the head! “Thrive” was a huge wake up call for me when I read it a few months ago. I was proud of not sleeping and working my tush off but in the end you are just trading your life for something really not worth it. Funnily enough I just made the decision to take time off every 3 months and go somewhere amazing and fun because I can. I love my business but I know I will be more productive if I can take care of me first. Thank you for reminding us that it is ok and probably a necessity. With love from London, Amelie

    • Amelie, I love that you take time off every 3 months. I like the way you vacation and taking care of our well-being is always a necessity.

  • We spent last year traveling to look at colleges (fun but felt more like a working vacation than a real get away). This year we booked our trip to Maine for double the time we usually go! Will take our kayak and dog, which will help defray costs. So looking forward to relaxing!

  • Linda Fry

    My best vacation was when I went to Disney in Florida for the first time. My daughter, her hubby and their two children included me in their vacation. As a single parent I could never afford to take my children on a real fun vacation so to go to Disney and see it through the eyes of my grandchildren was a whole new experience for me and a dream come through. We plan to do it again in a year or two.

    • It sounds like this was such a wonderful experience for you. I’m so glad you had the opportunity to be there with them.

  • I just went on a birthday vacation in March to St. Thomas and it was amazing! Funny enough, I’m already feeling like it’s time to vacation again… which I think really means that I am desiring to not live in NYC anymore. I’m ready for some beach town living for a bit 🙂

    • I think you may be right and maybe NYC just isn’t the perfect place for you at this phase in your life and that’s ok.

  • Last year we took a trip to Maine but flying into Boston and driving up the coast. It was by far the most relaxing and amazing trip yet. This year my fiance and myself will be traveling to Saint Lucia! I have never been and it has always been on my list of places to see. Since starting my new business and working non-stop I have made a pact to myself that I will always make time to couple stuff especially travel since that is something I love to do.

    • Hi Drew, I’m so glad you’re committed to making time for couple stuff. Our relationships are so important so we need to nurture and care for them.

    • Rachel Zack

      My husband and I went to St. Lucia a few years ago. I rented a little place in the south between the pitons. There was not much down there and the little town of Soufriere has no bells and whistles. But the scenery was…breathtaking. The north of the island is where more of the tourists and hotels are. Still pretty…have an amazing time!

  • Rachel Zack

    The best vacation we ever took was our honeymoon. We went 3 months after our wedding so we were rested and I could plan our trip. The thought of planning an additional thing before the wedding was overwhelming to me so I just waited until it felt right. We didn’t decide to go to Hawaii until about 2 weeks after our wedding. We decided we really wanted to go for 2 weeks. Since we are from the east coast it is a long trip and we really wanted to enjoy, unwind, and explore. I wanted all the luxuries but I also wanted a little adventure and I wanted it to be somewhat affordable. We ended up going to the north shore of Kauai for the first week. I rented a small tree house in the jungle- not too far from the beach on vrbo. We shopped and cooked our own breakfasts and some dinners. We ate some lunches and dinners out. We rented a car and really explored the island. We did some scuba diving and some hiking. We watched the sunset every night from a different beach. We then flew to the Big Island and checked into a fancy 4 star resort for the last four or five days! It was magical…and a perfect trip.

    • Rachel, this is great! I particularly like how you found a way to accommodate everything you wanted to do and how you wanted to do it within your budget and you were really able to enjoy your time by making the space to be there for an extended time. xoxo

  • I absolutely love travelling! I live in a tiny town in Northern Canada and travelling is what keeps me inspired to work hard…so I can plan my next trip. I travelled to Italy with my Mom last November to celebrate my Moms retirement and my birthday. We slept in, had no schedule, ate amazing food and drank the best wines. It was really incredible! I have seen Machu Picchu with my oldest daughter and toured Thailand with my husband and brother and sister in laws…and attended church and frolicked in the ocean with my husband and 4 kids in Jamaica. These are some of my favourite trips, but I can’t choose one because every trip has such special memories!

  • My husband and I are definitely due for a vacation and I’ve tried so hard to convince him of this, but because taking a vacay would require him to close his restaurant, he’s not really feelin’ it. Unfortunately, we’ve been together for four years and this continues to be our obstacle. We do, however, take short getaways, which is nice…but I’m itching for something more. I’ve already decided to talk to him about coming up with a plan. We both need it.

    P.S. Sarah, would you happen to know what plug-in you use for your pop-up?Not sure if you use WordPress…but if you do, would you mind letting me know? Thanks!

    • Hi Akirah, I think you and your husband could find a way to keep the restaurant open even while you’re away. It may not be able to happen right away, but is something you could strive for, because I think it would be great for both of you and the restaurant to also have a manager of sorts who can help take some of the pressure off your husband. For our popup email info@sarahjenks.com and my team can send you the details 🙂

  • Kelsey

    The best vacation I ever had was a drive across Canada for 6 weeks with my best friend, from Edmonton to Newfoundland and back. It was such a blast. I love road trips.

    My partner and I are now planning another big 4-6 week road trip vacation for next summer, not this coming one, to go up to the Yukon and Alaska. I know it’s a long way away but it’s the first opportunity we will both have at the same time to do something BIG given our school/work schedules. I hate that it’s so far away, but I don’t know how to push him to prioritize doing something sooner, especially since we are both back in school and only working part time so finances are a big trouble.

    We do take lots of weekend hiking and camping trips though, especially in the summer we try and get away for a full weekend somewhere at least once a month which is pretty great and so important to me.

    • Kelsey, it’s great that you are still taking the time to get away even if it is just for a few days at a time, I think those small getaways are really important too and it still gives you that time together away from everything. You’re going to have a wonderful time on your trip next year!

  • Best vacation ever was the one my husband and I just took this past March. It was a cruise, and we did very little except relaxing, enjoying meeting new people, eating good food, and allowing ourselves to drink far more alcohol that we ever do in our ‘normal’ lives. We laughed, we talked, we each did our own things and we never seemed to have disagreements like we do at home. It was seven+ years since our last vacation to a destination that didn’t include family of one kind or another and was longer than a few days. It was heaven! And for the first time ever on a vacation I didn’t feel the need to dampen down the joy and lament that it was nearly over, when there were still days ahead to enjoy. I was fully present, and when it was time to go home, I was ready. We have already made the commitment to each other that we will take another vacation late next winter to shake the hibernation off. Nothing fancy, just some place that doesn’t have snow and cold.

  • I started taking vacation not even two years ago and it dramatically changed my life!! I could never get anyone to commit to a vacation with me, so I started with a 4-day solo trip to Puerto Rico where I drove up to the mountains and just enjoyed nature. Then I was hooked…I took a weeklong trip to Cape Town, South Africa, a trip with my boyfriend to Tobago for a long weekend, then a couple of months later quit my job and spent all the money I’d saved by only working and never taking vacation and did a road trip across the country and saw all my friends & family. It’s been a while since our last vacay, but I’m excited to say that Jamaica is on the books for Memorial Day weekend!!! 🙂

    Vacation is the best.

    • Hi Mariana, I’m so glad you made vacationing a priority for you. You’ve been on some amazing trips and I’m so glad you’re going again this year. Have so much fun in Jamaica!

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