While taking time off is often a much-needed reprieve from a hectic work life, research also shows that it is important for your health.
Whether you have three days, one week or two weeks of glorious vacation time, doctors say that if you don’t take advantage of this break from work, your stress and mental health will suffer.
For some, it can be tricky to know a company’s philosophy on taking vacation time.
According to a study done by Glassdoor, the reasons U.S. workers don’t use their vacation time include:
- Their workload is too great and no one else at their company can do the work in their absence without fear they will fall behind.
- They worry they will miss out on participating in an important project, decision or meeting.
- They fear pending layoffs, so they bank all their vacation time to cash out should they lose their job.
- They can’t afford a vacation, so why take one?
- They feel guilty about leaving the office too long because they think their team might feel lost or overwhelmed.
- Some worry their desire to take vacation time will make them appear less motivated or dedicated.
- Others feel the need to constantly check emails or take phone calls while on vacation, so why bother?
Interestingly, what many will find surprising is that in a 2018 survey, the majority of bosses (71% and 82% respectively) agree that vacation improves an employee’s focus and alleviates burnout.
And, time off from work doesn’t have to mean a luxurious cruise to Tahiti (although, wouldn’t that be nice?). It could mean a day here and there, an afternoon or even a morning. What’s important, doctors say, is to make sure you give yourself breaks so you don’t burn out.
Here are some reasons why taking time off is good for you:
You’ll reset yourself mentally.
Nothing can lead to an anxiety attack faster than working a million days all in a row. So taking even one day off can help reset yourself mentally, and make it easier to have a clear head once back at work. Put simply, push yourself through too many hours or days of work and your brain starts to push back. Ideas that once flowed easily dry up, and tasks that you should be able to perform quickly become excruciatingly difficult … you need to give your brain, and yourself, some rest.
You’ll feel way more productive when you return.
You know the refreshed feeling you get when you take a few minutes away from your desk? Well imagine what a whole day, or week, could do for your productivity. In fact, it works like such a charm that more companies are starting to realize the importance of time off — especially time off to pursue your own creative pursuits.
Taking time off helps you remember who you are.
Taking time off helps remind you that you are, in fact, a person. And probably a person who has interests and hobbies. So take the time to remember what they are, and make sure you schedule them into your weekly routine.
You’ll realize you need to stop taking work home.
People are finding it more difficult than ever to leave work at work. After all, you get emails all day on your phone, so it seems normal to continue the day even after you’ve left the office. Take a day off and break yourself of this habit. Once you get a taste of sweet, sweet freedom, you’ll want to help preserve the benefits of your time off.
You’ll rekindle your relationships.
Are you the type to push off dates with your significant other, or a girls’ night with friends in favor of time at the office? If this is the case, you need a reality check. While work is incredibly important, and it’s wonderful to focus on your career, it’s also imperative to your mental health to work on your relationships. Allow yourself to take the occasional Friday off to spend on the couch with your partner, or take a week to hit up Cancun (or wherever) with friends. You’ll be glad you did.
You’ll reset your focus.
Are you even happy at work, or do you just go out of pure habit? Having some alone time can help you refocus your goals and gain perspective. You may find that a day off gets your gears turning and sends you in a completely opposite career direction. Or, at the very least, it may inspire you to make changes at your current job so it better fits your desires.
Taking time off from work may sound like a totally impossible prospect, but it’s not! You deserve a break, and probably have some vacation days racking up. So cash them in, and give yourself some much-needed time off.