Jenna Birch of Yahoo! Health has examined the key roles vacations play to our overall health, and the many detriments of overworking ourselves.
Why are we OK with burnout?
Americans are work martyrs. We leave $224 billion in unused vacation time on balance sheets each year and there are a lot of reasons for this! First, you won’t be in the office for that presentation your team’s been working on. Second, someone else will inevitably have to pick up your slack. Third, how much of a break will you really be getting? You’ll be tuned in to your buzzing phone anyway, (just in case of a work emergency, of course) or sifting through emails (so you won’t have to dig through them when you return, right?). On second thought, maybe it’s easier to put off that vacation until things “slow down.”
There is a high tendency to rationalize skipping vacation days to prevent the feeling of falling behind. Vacation time is not wasted time, though. It’s valuable time that we aren’t utilizing.
Why Aren’t We Taking Time Off?
Today, our work defines us more than ever before. Imagine going to a dinner party, where you must introduce yourself to a handful of new people. What do you say? According to psychologist Karla Ivankovich, PhD, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Springfield, we used to define ourselves by our own interests, our families or relationships. But these days, “most people introduce themselves by what they do, rather than who they are,” Ivankovich says.
Our minds are always consumed by the demands of the job, probably more so now than ever before. Workplace culture has shifted — even from just a couple decades ago. Seniority, loyalty, and longevity have been replaced by youth, productivity, and economy.
How Do We Break Away?
But it is important to leave work behind. If possible, you should go bigger rather than smaller, because more than a couple days off will give you the best mental boost. While scheduling that time away is definitely doable, it’s not as easy to actually rest while you’re taking time off.
Can’t take your mind off what you might be missing? Then you might need to really remove the temptation of checking in on work. Maybe leave your phone behind on the beach trip — except for a half hour of checking emails in the morning, at lunch, and at night. Or maybe you designate one full hour at night dealing with work correspondence. Or maybe — eek! — you decide to go completely Internet-free.
Timeshare vacations can help ensure you take regular vacations, since you are pre-paying for them. This discipline will help you find that week you need to break away from your job, and with locations all over the world, you can get as far away from work as you may need.
To read Jenna’s entire article visit Yahoo! Health here.