Healthy Living

The importance of taking time off from work

One of the best ways to be good at your job is to get away from it. That means taking all your paid time off.

Many countries have minimum paid-leave laws, with workers getting four to six weeks off. Not so in the United States, even though most managers and workers acknowledge the importance of time off.

Still, it appears many Americans don’t even take all their vacation time, generally two to three weeks. Nor would they take more, even if they could, according to surveys.

Why? The list is long.

But here are two common reasons people don’t take advantage of the days they get paid to do whatever they want.

1. You think you “can’t”

“Sometimes you have a difficult time taking off because there’s no one who can work for you, if you’re not there,” says Susan Lalemand, a health coach and registered nurse with Unum. “Or there’s the pain you have to go through to train someone for when you’re gone.”

Yes, those are challenges. But everybody needs time away from work, so if you make it a priority, you’ll find a way to do it.

Sometimes, “can’t” is an illusion.

You think there’s a lot of prep work to create the vacation itself, and you worry there will be too much to do when you get back.

Not all vacations are complicated (visit a friend or find an all-inclusive resort). And there’s almost always a lot to do, but you can’t do everything – so, again, prioritize.

2. You don’t see the point if you’re not “going away”

Taking a staycation can work wonders for your well-being.

You don’t have to stay in your home the whole time, but even if you do, this is the perfect time to spend on something you’ve been wanting to explore but haven’t been able to. The options are endless: whittling a nightstand, writing weird poems, cleaning out a closet, learning to trim your own hair.

Or try doing nothing. Just relax, and see where your mind or inclinations take you.

“People have a hard time knowing what to do with themselves if they’re not doing,” Lalemand says. “I’m a firm believer in human beings as opposed to human doings.”

 

Journalist Mitra Malek writes about wellness, fitness and innovation. She has taught yoga regularly since 2006 and was a senior editor for Yoga Journal magazine. Learn more at mitramalek.com.

 

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