A Much-Needed Time of Rest

It has been a while since I’ve taken time off for a vacation (or “staycation” in my case, since I’m really a homebody).  However, I’ll be taking some time off starting next week.  I am quite giddy as I’m watching the clock counting down to the end of business today.  I can’t wait to leave my responsibilities behind!

After reading that, you might be thinking that I hate my job or my work environment or my coworkers (or all of the above).  It’s actually quite the opposite.  I have a great job where I’m challenged on a regular basis.  My company has the greatest culture out of any company where I’ve previously worked.  My coworkers are all more like family than simple associates, and I know that if I’m in trouble or need support, I can always rely on them.

However, even though I appreciate all of these aspects, I’m burnt out.  I feel mentally exhausted.    I’ve lost some of that passion I’ve carried with me in the past.

Being challenged at work is a great thing.  It leads to both personal and professional growth.  However, it’s also a cause of stress.  When you’re challenged over and over again without any breaks, it’s like someone has access to your personal stress button and they’re trying to break it by stomping on it repeatedly.  

For others out there, maybe challenges aren’t the problem.  Maybe it’s a lack of challenges, or perhaps doing the same routine day-in and day-out.  Whatever the source, all of us eventually get exhausted and need to get away from work in order to recharge our batteries. 

Various studies have shown that vacations allow workers to come back to the office feeling refreshed and more productive.  Confused.com compiled statistics from some of these studies and listed additional benefits of vacation, such as having a better feeling about life, or longer life expectancy in certain individuals.  

Unfortunately, not everyone has vacation time through their employers since it is not mandated by the federal government here in the United States.  Some businesses simply deny their employees this benefit. 

I have not personally seen a business do this, but I did have a friend who was denied paid time off for the first two years of their employment.  To think about working for 2 years without a break seems crazy.  They even admitted to me that they were not feeling engaged by the end of that 2-year span until they were able to take some time away from they office.

What amazes me the most is that for those of us who are fortunate enough to receive paid time off in the US, the average American worker does not use all of their vacation time each year.  According to a study by Expedia, the average number of vacation days provided each year is 14, yet only 12 of those days are typically taken.   It’s a shame because those vacation days are meant to be used and not stockpiled.

It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who is head-over-heels in love with their job, or someone just in it for the paycheck.  If you’re one of those individuals who does not use all of their vacation time, use it up!  You need that time away for your own mental health.  You’ll feel better about yourself and about your work.

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  • Comments (1)
    • shalini
    • May 4th, 2012

    Ken I m heading for a vacation &your article makes me even happier

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