Why Taking Annual Leave Is Beneficial For Your Health
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With the average annual leave days being 20 a year for most employees, I cannot stress enough how important it is to use those days not only for your enjoyment, but for your mental and physical health. Vacations can contribute to psychological wellness, furthermore, positive holiday experiences have spill-over effects on how we evaluate our overall satisfaction with life, particularly boosting satisfaction with our work/life balance.
With 11 months almost down in the year we once again we feel like time has flown. Work/life/family/keeping the house/walking the dog/getting to the gym/sports events/driving lessons/food shopping/shopping online/house cleaning/visiting the parents/playing with the kids/loading/unloading the dishwasher… seems relentless doesn’t it!
I was lucky enough to be able to escape away for a long weekend with 3 friends recently and it made me reflect on how important it is to use your annual leave days to really have some “me” time and reset your mind. On top of a vacation being a great emotional wellbeing and mood booster, studies suggest that during vacations, the anxiety we feel through work distress decreases and stays low the following two weeks after your holiday.
~ friends are the best collectables ~
My holiday was short but sweet. Each of us ladies are all at different stages of our lives; each of us with our own internal dilemmas and thoughts. Two of us business owners, all of us working, two of us separated, two managing a young family, most of us story tellers, all of us for the 4 days putting ourselves first! All of us so very different, needing different things to make us relax – the sun worshiper, the tranquillity pool relaxer, working/not working relaxing on the balcony gal, the karaoke queen. Time out, then time together.
Life moves us in different directions, presenting challenges that creates different trials and tribulations. Working in an office, day in day out can start to feel repetitive and your work performance begins to suffer. The greatest gift I think you can give yourself is the gift of putting ourselves first occasionally. Whether you use your leave for a solo getaway, a family vaccay or a trip with friends, resetting your mind and focus can do you a world of wonders. My holiday away with the girls was exactly what i needed - I find the benefit of having a girl pac (and guys this is not exclusive to us - you can have your boy pacs too) is that as the years go by, life changes but these are the people who have seen you grow. They have seen you cry, seen you smile, given you support when you needed it and then allow you to disappear to be all things to all other people. Shifting my mind from a 9-5 to the sounds of the waves was exactly what I needed to boost my overall mental health and I saw the changes almost immediately.
So if you are feeling like you’re in that “burn out” period, you should take my advice and book yourself in a holiday. It can be a long weekend or a solid two weeks, whatever is needed to clear your brain fog and restart your motivation. We all flat line at times and annual leave is there to be taken! So take a moment to breathe. We’ve got this. Stay true to yourself. Value your friendships, learn from your mistakes. Spoil yourself rotten – you deserve it.
de Bloom, J., Radstaak, M., & Geurts, S. (2014). Vacation Effects on Behaviour, Cognition and Emotions of Compulsive and Non-compulsive Workers: Do Obsessive Workers Go ‘Cold Turkey’? Stress and Health, 30 (3), 232-243 DOI: 10.1002/smi.2600
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