Newsflash: taking breaks every now and then is good for both your career and your company.
How? Well, we’ve already talked at length about burning out and how to manage it, but let’s face it. Sometimes, you just need to step away from the office for a week or two to regain your health and sanity (or what’s left of it).
The Link Between Vacations and Productivity
It seems counterintuitive, but pushing yourself constantly to the brink of exhaustion can actually make you less productive. Without sufficient breaks, your body’s reaction time will slow down considerably and your energy levels will plummet.
Thus, if you show up to work every day in such a condition, you won’t be able to produce satisfactory output as much. Now, that would be a lose-lose situation for both you and your boss.
In contrast, going on a vacation can do wonders for your health and your performance at work. Just three days of rest, for instance, can speed up your reaction time greatly. Participants who went on a three-month yoga and meditation retreat, meanwhile, showed reduced stress and inflammation markers in the body, along with healthier nerve cells.
Imagine coming back to work in that condition. Wouldn’t you be more motivated and energized to deliver?
What’s the Ideal Length for a Restorative Vacation?
So, now that we’ve established the need for vacations, how often and how long should you take them?
According to a research paper that appeared in Psychosomatic Medicine, two long trips and a few short ones annually are ideal. As per the researchers, you should target 30-45 vacation days per year.
Obviously, unless you’re an upper-level executive or pregnant, it can be hard to apply for a prolonged leave. Fortunately, spacing your vacation days are also key. On that note, studies from the Journal of Happiness indicate that eight days of rest and relaxation are optimum for regaining your health and wellness.
If you’re really pressed for time, a quick weekend break works wonders too. Since the government usually announces upcoming long weekends each year, you have adequate time to plan several mini vacations. And thanks to lower airfares, you can even venture out to other nearby countries if you want to put some real distance between yourself and the office.
The bottomline is, don’t let your vacation leaves go to waste. Working hard is great, and hustling to achieve your goals is commendable. But taking the time to recharge and regenerate is equally so.