Why Vacation is Important
Vacation time is meant to be restorative and is important for our well-being. Although the way in which we spend our time while on vacation in 2020 may be different than in other years, there are many ways to find rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation within the current climate.
Why should employees take vacation?
REST, RELAX & RECHARGE
- Dedicating time for the purpose of rest, relaxation and to recharge is of critical importance; this isn’t often achieved over the course of a weekend, so dedicating time away to unplug can help us to reset.
- Vacations have been known to help improve overall sleep quality.
AVOID BURNOUT, INCREASE MENTAL & PHYSICAL WELL-BEING
- When working under increased demands, individuals can quickly begin to feel rundown, and often experience fatigue, trouble concentrating, etc.
- When we start to feel burned out at work, even the simplest of tasks becomes a challenge. Our passion starts to dull, and we lose some of our drive.
- One study showed that a four-day “long weekend” vacation had positive effects on well-being, recovery, strain, and perceived stress for as long as 45 days. While the reduction in strain was greater for those who spent the vacation away from home, the other effects were similar for those who stayed home.
INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY & FOCUS
- Everyone has their limits, and pushing yourself too far can actually become counterproductive. Most employees felt they were more productive as a result of taking time off.
- 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.
- Stress is a true physiological response, originally meant to help us and keep us safe. It releases hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine for the fight or flight response that was necessary for early humankind. However, in modern society, chronic stress can be destructive to our bodies.
- Taking time for regular breaks (including vacations) and leaving our everyday stresses (even if temporarily) give us a break from the constant high levels of these hormones, and a chance to repair.
- When we allow ourselves to relax, we’re able to open creative parts of our minds that we may not always be using on a day-to-day basis.
- You can bring this inspiration back with you upon your return, and may find a new/creative way of doing things or solving an issue you’ve been facing.
- While career aspirations are an important focus, the relationships with those closest to you are also of paramount importance. If you’re constantly logging long hours or checking your phone and email all evening, the important people in your life may begin to feel less important or even neglected. Even a short amount of time away allows you to unplug from your job and spend quality time with your loved ones.
- A sign of trust from a leader to their team is to trust that operations will continue at the required service level, even in the leader’s absence.
- It is a great opportunity to develop leaders while others are away.
- It can be easy to put off taking vacation, especially when there doesn’t appear to be much going on, however, there really is no better time than the present to start enjoying time doing things outside of our professional endeavors (e.g. “unplugged” quality time with family).
- Taking time away isn’t a luxury, it’s essential to your health and well-being.
What are some creative ideas?
- Try out a timed event or challenge (e.g. 14 days of yoga, 30 days of stretching) to introduce your body into new ways of staying physically active, it can also help to clear your mind and can help to reinforce a positive habit.
- Our brains are hardwired to be happier by water – it helps calms us, and gives us clarity. Consider going for a walk or bike ride by a body of water.
- Lots of gyms, fitness centres and other activity centres are offering free live streams, and prerecorded classes for individuals to try their hand a new physical activity.
ENJOY YOUR DOWNTIME
- It can be hard to be stuck indoors all the time, but try to use this opportunity to rest and relax.
- Practice some self-care by creating a stay-at-home spa day.
- Give yourself a break from Social Media.
- Unplug and disconnect from technology.
- Get a head start on spring/summer activities around the house, such as gardening, organizing the shed, cleaning off patio furniture, etc.
- Consider scrap material around the house to repurpose into something new (e.g. making a corn hole game from old building materials).
- Paint or refresh areas around your home.
- Consider rearranging items in your home to help create a fresh new space.
- Go through old photos and create albums of your favourites.
START PLANNING (OR DAY DREAMING)
- Plan your next celebration, dream vacation, realistic vacation, a day-by-day menu for the upcoming week, something to make or create each day, a themed day, a bucket list, a project around your home you’ve always wanted to accomplish!
“TRAVEL” (WITHOUT LEAVING THE COMFORT OF HOME)
- Take a virtual tour of some of the most amazing landmarks from around the world (https://www.timeout.com/travel/virtual-landmark-tours).
- Explore the Louvre in Paris (https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours).
- Google Arts & Culture helps to provide an escape from the ordinary, all without leaving home (https://artsandculture.google.com/).
- Perhaps you have always wanted to learn a new language, or brush up on some existing skills? Give the Duolingo app a try for some help with this (https://www.duolingo.com/).
- Travel & Leisure has a listing of over 100 fun things to do from home, including virtual visits to Disney World (no line ups!) (https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/fun-things-to-do-at-home-during-coronavirus-quarantine).
- Consider camping in the backyard, or creating the feel of a bed & breakfast at your own home.
- Read that book that you just haven’t gotten to, pull out those old board games, or try something new like taking a virtual tour of an aquarium, museum or zoo.
- Watch full live performances of best loved musicals.
- Host a virtual games night with friends and family, platforms such as Kahoot are great for online games.
- Take a trip down memory lane, revisit old photographs, home movies, and share with your loved ones.
- Random acts of kindness can help spread joy, and rewarding in so many ways; get inspired and browse hundreds of ideas on how you can spread kindness to others.
Do you have any other ideas or success stories to share? Post them to Twitter with the hashtag #vacationtime and tag/follow us at https://twitter.com/McMasterOD.
Employee Well-being, The Way We Work, Things to Know