But taking a break isn’t just a nice thing to do if you can get around to it. A mountain of evidence shows that vacations provide a host of important health and wellness benefits:
- Reduce stress Getting away can do wonders for putting things in perspective and lowering stress levels. This is no small thing—unmanaged stress is a major contributor to a wide variety of serious health issues. Some studies suggest that taking a vacation can even reset bedtime habits and help you sleep better for months after.
- Stronger bonds Given the frantic pace that most of our lives run at, it’s often a challenge to spend enough quality time with our loved ones. Getting away together with your spouse, family or significant other is an ideal opportunity to reconnect and strengthen those all-important bonds.
- Recharging Studies show that concentration and productivity increase sharply after taking time off, especially for those who haven’t done so in a while. Once back, you’ll be able bring renewed focus and energy to your career, not to mention everything else in your life.
Of course, you can’t fully experience the benefits of getting away if you’re answering emails the whole time. But unplugging completely can be challenging, especially in deadline-driven industries such as trade shows and events.
So it’s a good idea to approach your vacation with as much forethought as any other major work project. Schedule it during a slow period, inform everyone well in advance, develop a detailed coverage plan with your co-workers and then spell it out in your away message.
Some forward-thinking companies, including our client Cisco, now have policies that discourage employees from logging in while they’re out on PTO. A few companies are even experimenting with offering unlimited vacation time to employees.
But it’s really the responsibility of each of us to make sure we take the vacations we’ve earned. So this summer, why not get out there and really let go? You’ll have a great time, lose stress and, by returning refreshed, do something good for yourself—and your career.
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