For most professionals the end of the year is an ideal time to take a vacation and get away from the responsibilities and demands that have consumed most of the past 11 months.
Holidays can be stressful in themselves, however, if we don’t organize some free time and plan how we’re going to manage all of the holiday expectations.
If you find yourself overwhelmed during the holiday, a vacation may be just what you need.
An essential part of the vitality, energy, and engagement people have in their work comes from the refreshment of a vacation, and research in Work and Stress (2010) reveals that vacations can boost employee’s overall well-being and health.
As we work longer hours and do more with less time, it can take a toll on our health and well-being. As stress builds, our ability to cope diminishes and our health deteriorates. This includes our mental and physical health, as well as the health of our relationships.
We all need an extended period of time where we have a break from daily hassles and demands in order to mentally and physically recover.
A vacation is the perfect solution, as it offers free-time to spend with family and loved ones, and gives us an opportunity to engage in enjoyable activities or hobbies.
A vacation is usually a pleasant experience and stimulates positive emotions. In doing so it helps build enduring personal resources for coping. From the perspective of Fredrickson’s Broaden-and-Build theory, these positive emotions can help build mental, emotional, and social resources, thus increasing our resilience to deal with future stress.
Benefits of taking a break from work during the holiday:
You will be a more creative and clear thinker
You will have a more positive attitude
You will have decreased tension and increase satisfaction with life
You will have greater energy
You will feel healthier
The only downside to this information is that these effects don’t last long after a vacation is over. If we go back into the same stressful environment we came from it’s easy to fall back into the same patterns of thinking and behaving.
So, taking numerous mini-vacations may have positive impact on overall mood and satisfaction with work. In this sense, having the opportunity for extended weekends or “mental health” days can possibly add to work satisfaction and overall health.
The ideal situation would be that we are energized from our work and passionate about what we do, but if this isn’t the case taking a break is an important proactive step to maintain mental and physical health and stay productive at what we do.
Photo credit: Elven*Nicky
Geurts, A. E., Taris, T. W., Sonnentag, S., Weerth, C., & Kompier, A.J. (2010). Effects of Vacation from Work on Health and Well-Being: Lots of fun, quickly gone. Work and Stress, 24 (2), 196-216.