It’s pretty well-known that we all need to take a break from time to time. Especially where annual leave is concerned.
But, what many of us don’t know is just how important it is to actually take that time off.
Studies have found that by simply taking lunch breaks and disconnecting from work, levels of energy at work were increased and levels of exhaustion had decreased. On top of that, it was also found to increase vigour and energy levels over time.
Taking a break is sort of like doing maintenance on your car. After reaching a certain mileage, you need to take it in for a service. Without that break, without some form of rest and rejuvenation, you risk both long- and short-term consequences to your car.
The same goes for your mind and body – you need to take regular breaks to keep them functioning at their best. Or risk getting hit by fun things like burnout or fatigue.
So what are the consequences of not taking a break? And why should you take leave anyway?
Let’s explore the benefits of taking annual leave, and why you should make sure to schedule some time for yourself this year.
Why Employees Don’t Take Leave & Why They Should
There are plenty of reasons why employees wouldn’t want to take leave.
- They feel like they’re not performing as well as they could be and have the need to catch up.
- They feel guilty about leaving their team behind.
- They think that nobody else can do a particular job without them.
- They may even feel afraid of taking a break and not having a job when they get back.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that taking annual leave is not only good for you, but it’s also good for your company.
Employees who take regular breaks are more productive and have higher morale.
And while these are all valid concerns, they shouldn’t stop you from taking a break. In fact, not taking a break can have some pretty serious consequences:
When you’re constantly working, you’re not giving your mind and body a chance to recover. This can lead to feelings of exhaustion, irritability, and even depression.
Burnout can even lead to physical health problems such as headaches, trouble sleeping, and high blood pressure. Plus, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take proper care of your work.
Signs of burnout include things like exhaustion, irritability, and depression. It often leads to other factors like: loss of purpose, loss of motivation, lethargy, detachment from relationships, and a negative outlook on life.
If you’re ever experiencing any of these symptoms, then it’s most likely time to take a break.
Another consequence of not taking a break is that you may start to feel stagnant in your job.
You may feel like you’re not learning anything new or that you’re not being challenged in the right way. When, perhaps what you really need is a new hobby, passion or interest.
That feeling of stagnation can lead to boredom, reluctance and a sense of being unproductive.
And boredom can be problematic.
According to a 2014 study, boredom “increased the likelihood of employees’ turnover and early retirement intentions, poor self-rated health and stress symptoms.”
Negative Impact on Your Personal Life
Lastly, not taking a break can impact your relationships and as a result, your personal life.
When you’re constantly working, you don’t have time for your friends and family. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
The Importance and Benefit of Taking Leave
Now that we’ve gone over some of the consequences of not taking a break, let’s talk about the importance and benefits of taking some time off.
The first benefit is that it can help you avoid burnout.
When you take a break, you’re giving your mind and body a chance to recover. This can help you avoid feelings of exhaustion, irritability, and depression.
Taking a break can also help you stay productive.
It may seem counterintuitive but when you take a break, you’re actually giving yourself time to recharge. This can help you come back feeling refreshed and ready to work.
Another benefit of taking a break is that it can help you learn new things.
When you’re constantly working, you don’t have time to learn new things. But when you take a break, you can use that time to explore new interests or learn new skills.
Lastly, taking a break can help improve your relationships.
When you’re constantly working, you’re not giving yourself time to connect with your friends and family. But when you take a break, you can use that time to catch up with loved ones or meet new people.
Make The Most Of Your Annual Leave
Now that you know some of the advantages of taking a break, it’s time to make the most of your annual leave.
Here are some tips on how to do just that:
1. Unplug from work
When you’re on leave, it’s important to unplug from work. This means leaving those work emails unread, rejecting all work-related phone calls, and avoiding any projects. This may seem like a tall order, but it’s important to give yourself a complete break from the constant pressure and demand.
2. Use your leave to relax
The whole point of taking a break is to relax and recharge. So, use your leave to do just that. Spend time with your friends and family, go on a vacation, or just stay at home and kick back. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to binge on the latest movies and series, or you need to reach 100% completion on that game. Either way, take a chill pill.
3. Get out and explore
When you’re stuck at home all day, it can be easy to fall into a rut. So, use your leave to get out and explore your city or country. Or even travel somewhere entirely new. You could go to the beach, go hiking, or visit a museum. Maybe even go for a camping trip with a bunch of your friends or family.
4. Learn something new
Use your leave to learn something new. This could be taking a cooking class, learning a new language, or taking up a new hobby. You might develop new passions or interests and maybe even find yourself making a whole new caste of friends.
5. Take some time for yourself
Lastly, use your leave to take some time for yourself. Whether that’s doing self-development or simply catching up on rest. This is time to do what you want, without having to worry about work.
So, sleep in, watch your favourite show, read a book, meet people, throw some love back at yourself.
Taking a break is important for your physical and mental health, productivity, and personal growth. Make the most of your annual leave and relax, explore, and learn something new!
Now, Go Forth And Take Some Time Off!
Now that you know the importance of taking a break, it’s time to make the most of your annual leave.
Use that time to relax and recharge. Take some time for yourself and do what you want without a care in the world.
Most importantly, have fun!