Unfortunately it has become fairly common in many sectors of the workforce to ignore your vacation balance until it grows so large that, in some cases, employees lose their vacation time without ever using it. The problem with this trend is that it ignores the very simple fact that taking time off from work can actually be good for your productivity at work. This is because research shows that breaks from our work—even work that is fulfilling—is “profoundly healing to our physiological and physical selves."
Why is this true? There are a handful of reasons:
- Rest and rejuvenation
- New experiences that get you out of your ruts
- Reconnect with yourself, your dreams, your desire.
- Lower stress level
This doesn’t mean that you have to plan an expensive vacation that fills your days with activity. In fact, taking a random day off of work every few months (with prior approval, of course) can provide many of the benefits these researchers are talking about—without breaking the budget.
Here are some of the many ways that taking the occasional day off can work.
- Sleep in—or get up when you wake up, enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee and actually listen to the birds sing outside your window.
- Curl up with a good, relaxing book—or get outdoors to enjoy a walk in the woods, a stroll along the beach, or rediscover your youth by swinging on the swing set in the local park when no one else is there.
- Take yourself out for lunch. You can try out someplace new, or a favorite spot far from the office.
- Give yourself the gift of a spa treatment. With everyone else at work, you’ll almost have the place to yourself.
- Go shopping—whether for a new dress, shoes, or to see what the specialty food store has on sale. It will be a lot more fun without the evening or weekend crowds. You can take your time and browse because you don’t have a schedule to keep or children you’re dragging along with you.
- Do what you want to do! Is there a movie that you want to see, that the rest of the family doesn’t care about? Check it out! Enjoy baking but never make the time for it? Bake! You can bring the leftovers in to work tomorrow and your colleagues will be glad to support you in taking another day off!
Another important reason to take a day off every once in a while is because you will return to work rested, energized and ready for whatever is coming your way.
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