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The Value of Vacations

You Had Me at Vacation

Posted in Professional Development

Author: Erin Dey

Blogged while counting seashells

We’ve all been there. We’ve typed up a work email, hit send and breathe a sigh of relief that we can finally move forward. And then your inbox dings and you think “Wow, that was a quick response!” only to realize you received an out of office response.

What’s your immediate reaction?  Is it, “Ugh, but I really need them!” or “wow, good for them for taking time off!”?  Maybe it’s neither, but what you should really be asking yourself is when was the last time you took a vacation? That’s right.  You. You reading this blog right now. So, when was it?

Research shows that HALF of the workers in the US leave their vacation days unused.  Say wha?! Pass those bad boys right over here, I’ll take them! This is so hard for me to wrap my brain around.  There are many positive benefits to taking time off. It doesn’t need to be a grandiose trip around the world; some of my better vacations have been stay-cations where relaxing and unwinding in my own home and community are exactly what I needed.  

I can’t force my team to take a vacation, but you’d better believe that if we are coming down to the wire and they have days or hours left that they are in jeopardy of losing, I’m strongly suggesting they get them in.  

Here’s why I recommend my team use their vacation time:

It’s good to disconnect and walk away. 

I know, but you have “too much to do,” right?  Hogwash. Delegate, get it done before you go or schedule it to be completed when you get back.  Work is work people, it doesn’t need to rule you 365 days a year.

You’ll sleep better.  I promise.

Restless nights and disrupted sleep are common complaints–often stemming from the fact that we simply have too much on our minds. When we can’t stop the chatter, it affects our sleep, and a lack of sleep leads to less focus and more.  Researchers say that vacations can help interrupt the habits that disrupt sleep, like working late into the night or watching a backlit screen before bed. If you have stress from work, and you find your sleep is disrupted because of anxiety or tension, take time off and learn to reset your sleep pattern.  

Improved productivity.

When you return to work, you will feel recharged, refreshed, and ready to tackle that big project or have a new motivation for your job at hand. You’re happier too, and when you are happy, your productivity soars, and you feel less likely to stand at the water cooler to complain, but also are more likely to excel.  (win-win for the employee-employer relationship!)

You earned it – now take it.

Vacation time is a benefit. You’ve earned it. Your employer doesn’t have the expectation that you work without vacation year after year; it’s not realistic.  Life is short, and I really don’t think anyone ever said, “I wish I would have taken fewer vacations or time off.”

We are in prime vacation season right now.  Have you taken some time off yet this summer?  Is it on the books and planned out already? If not, I hope I’ve inspired you today to get it planned.  You deserve it. Cheers!

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