Too Busy To Take a Vacation? Think Again by Taylor Lee

Can you buy a ticket to a better mood? Hop a flight to a healthier heart? The travel industry would say yes—and increasingly, so does science. And so do I. My guy and I just returned from four weeks in Grand Junction, Colorado. If you haven’t been there, add it to your must-visit list. Breathtaking mountain cliffs, red rock canyons, the hub of  Colorado’s wine country, beautiful golf courses nestled in canyons (check out my photo below)… and peaches!  I promise you once you eat a Palisade peach, you’ll never be satisfied with grocery store peaches again.

Vacation

Back to the benefits of vacations. For decades, researchers have been probing the benefits of vacations. Almost across the board, they’ve found evidence that vacations can positively impact everything from blood pressure to energy levels. But you do need to take those days off, a challenge for many Americans. “We’re one of the only advanced economies that does not guarantee paid leave,” says Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, and director of the Better Life Lab at the think tank New America. One in four Americans has no access to paid vacation, and those who do often don’t use it, she says. See her reasons below confirming why and how vacations positively affect our health.

Seven health benefits of taking a vacation

Studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and mental health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals. If you still need a little convincing, here is a list of some of the additional benefits of taking time away from work.

  1. Improved physical health Stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure. For both men and women, the New York Times reported, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.
  2. Improved mental health Neuroscientists have found that chronic exposure to stress can alter your brain structure and bring on anxiety and depression. When you take a vacation, feelings of calm arise and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.
  3. Greater well-being According to a Gallup study, people who “always make time for regular trips” had a 68.4 score on the Gallup-Heathway’s Well-Being Index, in comparison to a 51.4 Well-Being score for less frequent travelers. One study found that three days after vacation, subjects’ physical complaints, quality of sleep, and mood had improved compared to before vacation. These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacation.
  4. Increased mental motivation Many who return from vacation are more focused and productive. Studies have found that chronic stress can make it difficult to achieve certain tasks and cause memory problems. Taking time off can be like getting a tune-up for the brain, improving your mental health and cognition.
  5. Improved family relationships Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong. A study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.
  6. Decreased burnout Employees who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts. Another way to manage burnout is through the Oxygen Mask Rule: “Secure your masks before assisting others.” In other words, address your mental, physical and spiritual needs before committing to responsibilities benefitting others outside of your immediate family.
  7. Boosted happiness Research shows planning a vacation can boost your happiness. Some people experience an elevated mood up to eight weeks before the trip. The bottom line is, take a vacation if you can. When you take time away from the stresses of work and daily life, it can improve our physical and mental health, motivation, relationships, job performance and perspective. A vacation can help you feel refreshed and more prepared to handle whatever comes when you return.

As you plan your next vacation, be sure and add these great books to your “must take-along”.

EXPOSED

Exposed

FREE September 26-27

  • A renegade police officer infiltrates a dangerous cartel intending to take down its leader.•Little does she know that the handsome Drug Lord is a special operative hotshot heading up a mission two years in the making.

    •Learning who the outrageous woman is, the undercover commander does the only thing he can to protect the mission, and her. He claims her for his own.

And add to your must-read list our Author’s Billboard sensation:
Unforgettable Loyalty: Craving and Devotion

Unforgettable Loyalty

Is there anything more important in a relationship than loyalty from the one you love…

My book in the set is:

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Knockin On Heaven's Door

She’s a go-it-alone detective. He’s a psychiatrist and FBI profiler. A serial killer brings them together. In more ways than one.

Deacon Walsh has more degrees than any one man should. A former Special Ops physician, psychiatrist, and now FBI profiler, the stunning black agent has spent a year tracking the serial killer of four Colorado girls. When the trail goes cold, a brutal murder of an Albuquerque girl with all the marks of his victims convinces Deacon his killer is responsible.

Unfortunately, in addition to being brilliant, Deacon is also charming. And to Tyra’s dismay, as accomplished a lover as he is an agent.

Summer Fun by @PatriceWilton

It’s that time of the year again when we can get outdoors, enjoy the summer sunshine and warm weather—hit the beach or pool, national or local parks, and get plenty of family time. I’m thinking of sweet corn-in-the-cob, grilled steak, chicken, sausages, practically anything on the grill.

The mellow, golden days of summer. Life has changed over the years, but we still have those good times to bring a smile on your face.

I know times are hard, but being with family is one thing we need to make time for. I have two families who don’t live near me, my daughter and family in New Jersey, and my second daughter and family in Virginia Beach. We are trying hard to make sure we see each other for 4-5 days every year and make this a new tradition.

Last Year’s Summer Adventure

Last year, we were trying for Maine and ended up in Vermont. Near Stowe, and high on a mountain, but such a great place, the brave of heart could go ziplining from the top of the mountain to the half way point. After a five-minute lesson, off you go! They all loved it and made it safely back! The hotel offered many activities and we might end up going back there again.

This year, the working girls managed to get the same time off and we are going to Ashville, N. Carolina. Everyone is enthused about white water rafting and ziplining once again. We will enjoy the beautiful town, and the grounds of the Biltmore.

Both of these trips, not one of us have been to before, so making new family memories is the best way to enjoy life, keep close and connected, for as long as we can. The children will be off to college soon, but until then, we will capture as many moments as possible.

Wishing you all a great summer full of sunny days, laughter, and love. Hope you enjoy some of the pictures below of my summer fun!

Patrice's Family and Nessie

Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation

 

 

The importance of a Mental Break for me

Like many of you, I normally took a yearly vacation with my family, and of course, the events of last year kept me locked up in my own house. It’s hard to take a much-needed mental break when you are walking the same halls and sitting in the same chairs that you always sit in while working.

If you don’t know me well, you probably aren’t aware that I live and breathe my characters. They are with me all day, all night, no matter what I am doing. I talk through scenes while I’m cleaning, dressing, or cooking. I contemplate plot twists while I drive, and stare at nothing, or while I eat. My mind is usually going a hundred miles an hour, all the time.

In order to shut my mind off and let it relax, I need to put my entire body in another place. At home, I can attempt to stop working, but I’m always just a few steps away from my computer, and the emails, and marketing, and manuscripts that constantly need my attention.

I am so thankful that we were able to get away this year for a much-needed break. Not just for me, but for my husband who works so hard, and my daughter who is off to college very soon. Plus, this year we took our almost five-year-old grandson with us for the first time to Disney. It’s our family’s magic place.

My family in front of the Millenium Falcon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This year for the first time since I started writing, I put my computer away for almost the entire trip, and I focused on myself and my family. I was rather proud of myself. It was only toward the end of the vacation that I got on the computer for a little while in the afternoon, but that was generally when my grandson was resting and we were relaxing at the resort during the rain.

Now after almost two weeks away from the computer, the emails, the marketing, and my sometimes relentless characters, I am ready to come back and jump back in. In fact, on the ride home, I went through 200 pages to edit, and today I will jump back in to get at least another 100 done so I can get this book off to my editor and start writing the last three books required for this year.

After almost two years without a break, I finally feel like I can breathe without all the weight on my shoulders. Now, once I get my daughter off to college, I’ll have a nice quiet house and I can really start blasting out the words!

A Romantic Cruise: The Greek Islands

Welcome aboard. Today we are sailing to Corfou, next we will stop in Santorini, and then continue to Rhodes, an island close to Turkey, before turning north to Mykonos and Delos. Have a drink at the bar, relax in a lounge chair, listen to the music, and enjoy our cruise to the Greek Islands.

Corfou: A relaxing island

Corfu is one of the most beautiful and romantic islands of the Ionian island group. From lush green hills to noble mansions and from idyllic Corfu beaches, to interesting museums, this island has everything it takes to please any type of traveler.

Strongly influenced by the Venetians, the French and the English, Corfu Town is a brilliant base for exploration. The top places to visit in Corfu are Achillion Palace, the former retreat of princess Sissi of Austria, Mon Repos palace, where Prince Phillip, the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II, was born.

Don’t forget to stop by a Fish Spa as I did. Hundreds of well trained small fish will nibble on your feet. At first it hurts, then it tickles, and then you really relax and enjoy the exceptional massage.

 

Santorini: Island of Love


Today Santorini is a rock shaped like a fishhook, a cone formed by a volcano that erupted before 1600 BC. The current name of the island comes from its patroness, Saint Irene of Thessalonika, who died in 304. The Venetians called her, Sant’Irini and the name stuck. Sant-irini became Santorini.
The highest point of the island is marked by the monastery of the Prophet Elijah. On the eastern shore of the island there are beaches of black sand from previous volcanic activity.
In addition to a temple dedicated to Apollo, there is a shrine cut out of rocks to honor the Egyptian gods Isis, Serapis and Anubis, a reminder of the Egyptian presence during the Ptolemaic period.
The present capital of Santorini is the town of Thera built on top of the cliff. Excavations began in 1967 and scientists wondered if Thera was not part of the lost continent of Atlantis described in Greek literature. Views from this picturesque town are especially beautiful.


You can reach the top of the island riding on a donkey, or by cables. We used the cable. Since I am terrified of height I held my husband’s hand and closed my eyes, then opened one eye when he insisted the view was terrific and I was missing half of my life by not looking.
Once up on the cliff top, I agreed it was worth the scare. Look at the gorgeous pictures and be the judge. Santorini is an ideal place for honeymooners. I used my time walking and admiring the view, and shopping for souvenirs.

 

Our next stop was in RHODES: a strong island


According to Homer, the first colonists were Greek. They founded the city of Rhodes at the northern tip of the island and built a powerful citadel to protect it.
In its day of greatest power, Rhodes became famous for its impressive sculptures, like the huge bronze Colossus which stood at the entrance of the harbor. Created to honor, the sun god Helios, it was at least 110 feet high and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately, the Colossus only stood for 56 years before an earthquake toppled it in 224B.C. but the enormous fragments remained half-submerged for another nine centuries. A scrap dealer carried the pieces away on 900 camels.

The most glorious episode in Rhodes history began in 1309 when the Knights of St. John took control after being expelled from the Holy Land following the Crusades. They built St. John’s Chapel and St. Mary’s Church.

You can see here a picture of one of the tunnels that allowed the Knights to secretly escape. They settled in Rhodes and increased the fortifications. The ramparts are impressive, several feet high. A moat circled and protected the city when the drawbridge was raised. After Constantinople was captured by the Turks, repeated sieges of Rhodes by the Turks weakened the city. At the end only 180 Knights remained to defend Rhodes. They were expelled to Malta and Rhodes became Turkish property. The Italian navy seized Rhodes in 1912 and it was turned over to Greece in 1948.

The famous movie of Guns of Navarone was filmed in Rhodes.


Mykonos: a cosmopolitan island

Our next stop was in Mykonos, probably the most cosmopolitan of the Aegean Islands. I visited four times in the last twenty years, the first time when my children were teenagers.

We fell in love with the picturesque island and returned the year after. The streets are a maze of narrow, winding alleyways – many only two or four feet wide, overhung with dazzling pink and purple blossoms.

All the houses, shops, churches, restaurants and windmills are immaculately whitewashed, with door frames and window shutters highlighted with splashes of sky blue and jade green.

On every second doorstep sits a cat, gazing down serenely at passers-by.

From HER GREEK TYCOON, here is a description of Mykonos as the heroine Ashley sees it from Stefano’s yacht: “See, we are passing Chora, the capital of Mykonos.”

Mountainous landscape and long sandy beaches faded away. Square whitewashed houses with flat roofs, flowered balconies, blue doors and window shutters lined the cluttered narrow paved streets of the picturesque villages. Beautiful churches, chapels and windmills lent a magical atmosphere to the quaint town.  

“Now, keep your hands on the helm and steer to the left.”

The Athena glided through the water and gained speed. Stefano opened the side windshield and let the breeze invade the pilot station. “What’s your pleasure?”
With a toss of her head, Ashley flung her hair back and took a deep breath. “Can we stay close enough to the shore to discover the beaches?”

“Absolutely. This little cruise is all yours.”

Exhilaration filled her heart. She steered a superb ship and the captain was determined to please her. “Thank you, Stefano. I really appreciate you taking the time to show me your beautiful island.”

“We’re passing Korfos. Keep straight. The main island is looping into a cape. Now you can see Agios Ioannis—St. Jeanne Beach there. It’s small but picturesque.” He handed her a pair of binoculars and she scanned the beach.

Blood rushed to her cheeks at the sight of the topless bathers lying on towels or relaxing on lounge chairs. A couple hours ago, she’d been soaking up the sun on a similar chair—in a similar pose. 

Lowering the binoculars, she glanced at him. His face expressionless, he stared at the horizon and hadn’t noticed her embarrassment. “We are crossing a strait between Mykonos and the ancient island of Delos. I’ll handle the helm while you enjoy the view. The rocky islet offers an impressive exhibit of columns, temple remains, and statues of lions.” Ashley shifted to the other side of the pilot station and adjusted the binoculars to her eyes while Stefano took back the control of his boat.

“Delos is the birthplace of Apollo. His mother, the nymph Leto, was seduced by the god of gods, Zeus,” Stefano explained while Ashley admired the sculptural ruins of sanctuaries. “When his wife, the goddess Hera, learned of his treachery she banished the pregnant young nymph from earth.”

“What happened to Leto?” she asked, genuinely interested in the sad love story. Had all the Greek maids been destined to suffer because of love? She had Greek blood in her veins and wanted to hear of a happy ending.

“Poseidon, Zeus’s brother, rescued the nymph and had her deliver her baby on the island of Delos which wasn’t considered as part of the earth.” Stefano told her more about the history of Delos, a necropolis with too many burials for her taste.

HER GREEK TYCOON:
A sexy and humorous Romeo and Juliette Greek style, set in Mykonos Island.

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat. Meet the spirited heroines and the alpha heroes who share irresistible chemistry.