The Importance of Vacation
With the summer months upon us, McMaster employees will be taking some well-deserved vacation. While extravagant trips may not be part of your plans this year, it is still important to decompress and recharge your batteries. This month, we would like to provide 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 if we are able to travel or not, dedicating time for the purpose of rest, relaxation, and recharging is of critical importance. 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, usually simple tasks can be quite challenging. We have many expectations from others. 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.
A recent study has shown that even a four day long weekend has tremendously 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.
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 a lot of 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 do not 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. To ensure that you ease back into work, block some time off on your first day back to answer priority emails, check in with your team, and set your goals for the first week back. This can be done prior to your vacation, so other obligations are not booked into your calendar immediately upon your return.
Visit the Employee Well-being webpage for more information on how to minimize vacation stress!
Source: Harvard Business Review