The Importance of Vacation for Employee Well-being
The Importance of Vacation
With the new year under way, McMaster employees will be thinking about their well-deserved vacation for the year ahead. Whether an extravagant trip, stay-cation, or some time for self-care, it is important to decompress and recharge your batteries throughout the year. Vacation time is meant to be restorative and is important for our well-being. Below, you will find some refreshed resources on the importance of vacation, and how to minimize stress at work before, during, and after your time away.
Vacation and Our Well-being
Regardless of the time of year or how far you can travel, dedicating time for the purpose of rest, relaxation, and recharging is of critical importance; dedicating time away to unplug can help us reset. When working under increased demands, individuals can quickly begin to feel burnt out, often experiencing a lack of reserve, resulting in feeling run down. When we start to feel run down at work or at home, even simple tasks can seem daunting. The best way to ensure that we can look after all of life’s obligations is to make sure we are adequately looking after ourselves.
Studies find chronic stress can affect the part of the brain that inhibits goal-directed activities and causes problems with memory. Continuous work with no breaks or vacation time can make people feel blocked and distracted, and have problems concentrating. Surveys show almost three-quarters of people who took vacation time regularly felt more energized and ready to tackle the tasks at hand. Another study has shown that even a four day long weekend has positive effects on well-being, strain, recovery, and perceived stress for as long as 45 days afterwards. Furthermore, according to Ian Cole, there is a science to taking vacation, with methodologies to ensure stress relief is maximized. Visit Ian’s TED Talk to learn more.
Taking time away isn’t a luxury, it’s essential to your health and well-being.
How to Manage Stress Before, During, and After Vacation
A tale as old as time. You plan a vacation to relax and forget all about the stress of work. However, being out of the office means doing extra work before and after, which means that often times your vacation is causing stress instead of reducing it. Here are some strategies to make sure you are actually relaxing on your vacation.
Build Relaxation Into Your Routine. You do not have to wait for a vacation to practise self-care and relaxation. Take a few moments each day to practise whatever it is that you find relaxing, so you don’t spend the first few days of your vacation reminding yourself how to decompress.
Unplug. If you are physically leaving your work, try mentally leaving your work as well. Limit your use of technology, or temporarily remove applications that may take you away from your vacation.
Make a Return Plan. Discuss your vacation time with your colleagues and ask them not to copy you on emails while you are away. Often times, issues are resolved before returning from vacation and a touch-point upon your return would allow a faster way to catch up on anything outstanding. To ensure that you ease back into work, block some time off on your first day back to answer priority emails, check-in with team members, and set your goals for the first week back.
Visit the resources on the side of this page for more ways to maximize your time away.
Source: Harvard Business ReviewEmployee Well-being, The Way We Work