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Research shows that 212 million vacation days are forfeited every year in the United States. People are working more, and the fear of not being at work and being replaced are causing the phenomenon, amongst other reasons. 

In this article, we will look at reasons why taking a holiday is beneficial to our health and that the myths of not taking it are not substantiated. And, this is just in time for you to plan for the December holidays.

So, why should we go on holiday and is it better to go on an extended holiday or shorter holidays more often? Let us first have a look at the why question and then the how.

Stress:

  • Continuous stress causes the body to react with the survival response, which stops you from thinking straight.
  • This can cause delayed reactions at work and hinders your analytical skills. Nothing like a holiday to reduce your stress and clear your mind right?

Well-being:

  • Chronic stress can alter your brain and bring on anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that five weeks after a holiday, people get better quality of sleep, moods are still improved and they complain less about physical pain. 

Productivity:

  • Long periods of work without holidays will influence your productivity. It could lead to poor decision making, poor communication and a breakdown in relationships.
  • Going on holiday will allow for greater focus, higher levels of optimism and higher productivity levels.

Big investment:

  • Life is short. You and your health are your best resource. Think of holidays as an investment to increase your assets.
  • You get to grow your horizons, gaining new experiences and creating memories. You will also meet interesting people and create relationships that will enhance your social well-being.
  • On holiday you widen your perspectives which broadens your view on life and gives you a greater range to solve problems.

Family:

  • Getting to go away with people you love cements and builds relationships. Family ties are a cornerstone of social well-being.
  • We have discussed the importance of social wellbeing in many articles but the support and love from family and friends cannot be replaced by reports and workplace relationships.

Learning and creativity:

  • It has been proven that the human mind maximises learning while resting. That’s why all education has breaks.
  • Processing is not just something exaggerated by Hollywood movies, it is real – the brain needs time off to process, make connections and come up with creative ideas.

Something to look forward to:

  • Planning and the anticipation of a holiday gives you hope and happiness, together with something to look forward to.
  • As you plan and prepare for the holiday, you get excited and it gives you energy and enthusiasm for the ‘sleeps’ that you have left before you leave.

Decrease burnout:

  • Regular holidays decrease employees’ experience of burnout. This causes creativity and productivity to increase.

How to holiday? Now that is a personal question. 

More and shorter:

  • Many short vacations are said to be more beneficial that one long one. This has many benefits and also less impact on work. 

Planning for the vacation:

  • We plan every step of your day at work- why do we not do the same with our holidays? Not only the holiday but also everything that happens BEFORE the time (which could be most stressful).
  • Make a list of everything that you have to remember and do it step-by-step. Don’t leave everything for the last minute.

Workplace empowerment:

  • If you are a manager, one of your greatest fears might be that everything is going to fall apart when you are not there. With that, you check in everyday, take phone calls and keep in touch throughout the whole holiday.
  • This is very disempowering to the rest of the team. Show that you have confidence in their abilities and let go for those few days, empower your team.

Bottom line – holidays are good for us, it’s an investment in our health. It improves our physical and mental health, motivates, improves relationships and your productivity. Furthermore, it broadens your perspective and gives you strength. 

Take that well-deserved break and spend time with the people you love. You’ve worked for it.

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