Feeling burned out at work is an all-too-common condition in the workplace today. Though it is not technically a medical condition, it may lead to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and insomnia. In fact, the World Health Organization recently classified workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon and, consequently, a work hazard. So where can workers turn for relief? A vacation, of course.
In fact, a survey of worker productivity and vacation published in the Harvard Business Review, found that corporate leaders in countries with more paid vacation days were more likely to work at a faster pace and have a higher quality focus. “Employees in countries that take more vacation do have a strong desire to get a lot done as well as a tendency to move faster,” wrote the authors. “In other words, it’s not that taking a break will refresh your brain and let you get more done; it’s that simply spending less time at your desk forces you to waste less time.”
The truth is taking a break from work does not only help you recover from burnout, it even helps to prevent it in the future. Taking a longer break, a vacation, can make you better at work. Why?
- Your office is not the place for inspiration
The work environment is hardly the place to generate new ideas, approaches and problem-solving techniques. A change of scene on a vacation, getting enough rest can boost your creativity.
- Your health benefits enormously
Your physical and mental health improve enormously. Because, when you take a vacation, feelings of calm arise and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.
When you give your brain and body a break, you can recover and set your mind and body up for success. Now that you know the benefits of vacations, make sure you take it and how to make the most of it.
Prepare before you leave and log off
Preparing for a vacation at work is a critical, often overlooked factor of being able to stay present while away. That’s why experts encourage touching base with both your boss and co-workers ahead of your trip. Consider addressing the main functions you’ll need to have covered while you’re away and a plan for how to deal with certain scenarios should they arise. That way you can relax on your vacation knowing everything is taken care of and you can actually log off. Keep in mind that you should also disconnect from work messages and talking to coworkers. Because constant checking for emails, pings and alerts, keeping in touch with “what is going on at work”, even if it is office gossip, keeps you in your work mindset and doesn’t allow you to disconnect and recharge.
Enjoy your vacation
- Take full advantage of the outdoors and soak up what you’re missing when you’re looking down at work devices.
- Stimulating the mind by strolling through a museum, taking a cooking class or learning to sail, an activity that engages your mind is beneficial to de-stressing.
- Be spontaneous and available for new adventures and experiences.
- Go to new places and do new things.
Plan Your Re-Entry
Going back to work and feeling immediately stressed can wipe away the benefits of a vacation. When you return from vacation don’t just dive back to work. First take out time to catch up on emails, plan out your to-do list etc. Building in a transition period can allow you to regain a manageable work pace and workload, without getting overwhelmed.
Being deliberate about how you plan your time off will maximize its many benefits. So take that vacation wisely.