Friday, February 25, 2011

Take Your Vacation.

Spring is coming, and with it spring break and warmer days and… vacation.  Vacation is important. We’re serious.  We know all the excuses. You can’t afford it, you don’t have time, you have more important things to do.

Is your physical and mental health important to you? Is your productivity at work important to you? Are your healthcare-associated costs of relevance to you?  Then companies, you need to provide your workers with vacation and encourage them to use it.  And workers, you need to set aside time to relax, recuperate, and unplug.

Did you know it takes three days to fully “unplug?” You don’t stop listening for your iphone’s beep until three days of not using it.  So weekends are great for relaxing and getting things done, but they aren’t enough to fully recuperate.  Every once in a while, you need three (or more) days.

Here’s why.

1. BURNOUT. Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts.

2. HEALTH AND WELLBEING.  Studies prove that three or more days of vacation improve mood, sleep patterns, physical health, and stress levels.  The effects of just three days of vacation last at least five weeks afterwards!  The effects of continuous stress with no relief include migraines, heart attack, and high blood pressure among others. Illnesses hurt your quality of life and cost you, your insurance company, and potentially your employer way more money in the long run than a couple days off work.

3. RELATIONSHIPS.  Spending time with loved ones, away from the typical work-week routines, strengthens relationships, making home life – and subsequently work life – happier.

We know a vacation isn’t always an immediate option.  Things like deadlines, stressful financial times, and unemployment make taking time off to have fun difficult if not impossible.  But it’s worth making a priority.  Because vacation isn’t simply about fun.  It’s about you being a healthier, happier person.  And happier people make better employees and employers.

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