The summer is winding down, but there's still time for a vacation. Studies show that completely pulling away from the everyday stress of our jobs and taking a vacation or two every year puts us at far less risk of dying of a heart attack and far more likely to be productive at work when we get back. If that's not reason enough to pick up and go, I'm not sure what is.

Yet, we seem to feel guilty cutting loose for a week. But as I said, the benefits of a great vacation outweigh the costs, so my challenge is to make it happen.

Now, let me suggest maximizing the benefit of your vacation by making sure it fits within your specific thinking and behaving preferences. Think about what kinds of experiences and situations you most enjoy, and translate those into vacation plans.

Here are some examples of what a vacation might look like through the lens of thinking and behavioral tendencies. Knowing your preference can help you take a vacation that is more appealing to you, so see what resonates (my guess is that one or two definitely will).

Analytical
Marisa is a highly analytical person, meaning she looks for the value in everything. Put another way, she wants to take advantage of all the good things a place has to offer; what's more, she likely researches these things on travel websites or in guidebooks. It may be cheap to go there during rainy season, but if it rains the whole time it doesn't make sense. It may be fun to see that movie, but if we can see it when we get home and instead go try the local seafood, let's do the latter. As you can see, Marisa's Assertiveness comes into play as she's happy to drive the vacation forward based on the research she's obtained and her calculations of each situation.

Structural
John, an auditor, takes a nine-month golf vacation every year with seven of his closest college buddies. OK, it's actually just four days every fall, but John lives, breathes, and thrives on structure and regimen, meaning come January he's sending emails to the group, booking the tee times, scouting sunrise/sunset data, and mapping out every possible scenario. He may love checking off these boxes as much as the vacation itself. Being on the more firm and focused end of the flexibility spectrum, John might not be very open to changing the time of year for the trip, because he's seen that this is an ideal time for golf and scheduling.

Social
A social thinker's ideal vacation must, above all, involve people. Where they go matters less than whom they're with. That's not to say they want to be around tons of people, especially if their Expressiveness is in the quiet range, but an experience means more when they can share it with someone else. Stephanie is the de facto social chair of her friends, and when she takes a vacation, her social preference can't be mistaken. Group camping trips are a common theme, and even an occasional cultural exploration tour involving host homes for a night or two. Stephanie's also great about sharing recommendations, stories and photographs upon her return, which signifies a level of Expressiveness in the gregarious range.

Conceptual
The Conceptual mind is energized and intrigued by creativity, innovation, new possibilities, new ideas and unexpected developments. They tend to find packaged vacations limiting, and would much rather arrive at their location without a plan or a schedule. So when Mark thinks about taking a vacation he tosses a dozen far-fetched ideas to his wife--the planner--and says "that should give you an idea. Just pick one and don't tell me where we're going." Obviously, Mark is also on the change-oriented end of the flexibility spectrum, so these mystery trips are fine with him.

As you can see in these examples, a person's thinking isn't in a vacuum, because the way you behave also factors into your vacationing. Make sure you plan for how much time you'll want to spend alone or with others as well as how much control you'll have on your agenda-- trust me it will make things way more enjoyable and you'll come back even more refreshed.