If you earn vacation time, don’t forget to use it. While it’s admirable to want to be a dependable worker who’s always ready to pitch in, you’re not doing your employer, your fellow employees, or yourself any favors by failing to take time off. Take vacations to de-stress, re-energize yourself, and return to the job a more well-rested—and, therefore, better—team member. In case you need a reminder of the benefits of taking time off, here’s how vacations can help prevent stress.
Give Your Brain a Jump Start
Monotony and sameness dull creativity and kill imagination. The human brain craves variety, and when you travel on vacation, you encounter new situations, surround yourself with new people, and expose yourself to new experiences. This encourages you to break away from the same old patterns and adjust to a new normal. New experiences can also inspire new ideas that you can take back home and to the office. Relaxing and de-stressing on vacation provides a mindset that sparks innovation and ideation. In a way, you’re still getting plenty of work done in a low-pressure environment!
You Improve Your Physical Health
Obviously, taking a week off and relaxing on a beach can take the edge off, but were you aware of the multiple studies proving vacations improve your chances of avoiding heart disease and other conditions? Vacations are a good time to combat sleep deficits as well. Also, people don’t just come back more well-rested after a vacation; in the time leading up to time off, employees often report less stress and greater focus at work. Vacations also develop physical fitness by encouraging you to get out and around. Those on vacation often eat only at mealtimes, explore new places on foot, get plenty of fresh air and sunshine in natural surroundings, and engage in sports and other activities that involve good cardiovascular and strength-building workouts.
Enjoy the Pleasanter Emotions
Vacations are, by and large, a time of balancing fun with relaxation. There’s no need for aggressiveness or competition (except the fun, recreational kind), and we have more opportunities for moments of calm reflection. In this time, we can focus on ourselves and our sense of self, working to improve who we are with no outside interruptions. A stronger sense of self can produce self-actualization, creating a better associate for your company and fellow workers. And don’t forget that vacations are also where we make memories and strengthen ties with family and friends—something you’ll remember fondly in the future.
Another way vacations can help prevent stress is by combatting burnout. Coming in early, staying late, and working weekends is overrated. Pushing yourself to your limits may seem impressive, but in the long run, it can only hurt your productivity—not to mention your mental and physical health, as your body and mind rebel against long-term stress. So take your vacation time. You earned it, you deserve it, and you need it to stay on top of your game.