“All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy.” ~ Proverb
When was the last time you took a day off work that didn’t involve being sick or meeting another obligation? If you’re like most Americans, it’s been a while. In fact, in 2017, 42 percent of families in the United States skipped their summer vacations. Even worse, over 50 percent took off less than five days off over the entire year.
While working ourselves to the bone is common, and even expected by some employers, it’s probably doing more harm than good. Without an occasional break, you’ll start to burn out and your productivity will dwindle. Stepping away from the physical and mental demands of everyday life gives you a chance to come back refreshed and clear-headed.
Do you need more evidence to convince yourself (or your boss), about the importance of mental health days? Here are five of the best reasons to make taking time off from work a priority.
1. Mental Clarity
When you push yourself to work too many days in a row, eventually your brain will start to push back. Your thoughts will get cloudy, your creativity will diminish, and you’ll have a harder time dealing with stress. If you don’t rest your brain, the side effects will continue to multiply. Luckily, even a single day off can bring you back into a state of mental clarity.
2. Improved Productivity
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.
If you’ve ever felt refreshed after stepping away from your desk and taking a walk, you understand how a break can improve your productivity. Take off a few days or a week and you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.
3. Better Balance
It’s hard to maintain a positive work-life balance in even the best of circumstances. When you’re chronically overworked, you can start to lose your sense of self. Your hobbies and interests fall to the wayside as you focus all of your energy on your career. Taking time away from work gives you a chance to rekindle your joy and remember what life was like before you became relentlessly busy.
4. Improved Focus
No matter how much you love your job, doing the same thing day in and day out can wear on you. Taking time away gives you the chance to refocus on your goals and look at things from a fresh perspective. You’ll be surprised how many great ideas come up when you step away from the monotony for a day or two.
5. Better Relationships
While it’s important to focus on your career, you also need to work on your relationships. If you’re constantly logging in long hours at the office or checking your phone and email all evening, the important people in your life will start feeling neglected. Even a short vacation allows you to unplug from your job and spend quality time with your loved ones.
Tips for Effectively Taking Time Off Work
Although a two-week getaway to a remote beach in Fiji might be ideal, you don’t need a grand vacation to reap the benefits of taking a break. If money is tight or your workload really is too high, you might have to get creative.
Try coordinating your time-off requests with paid holidays to create a mini-vacation. Taking time off during slow months is also a good way to keep your boss happy while still giving you the downtime you need.
If you’re feeling super stressed out, don’t be afraid to use one of your sick days. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Taking time off when you need it will keep you feeling balanced and make you a better employee in the long run.
Originally published at blissquest.net