Research shows that stressed Americans aren’t taking the breaks they have earned despite noting the benefits of downtime. Ninety percent say time off helps them relax and recharge, but forty percent won’t go to avoid a “mountain of work” upon return. Others may physically leave the office, but end up on a work-cation, constantly checking in rather than checking out. Here are three compelling reasons why you must take a break.
1. Breaks now are better than breakdowns later. Be honest. If you just muttered “I don’t have time for a break,” when do you have time to get sick? After all, self-care costs you much less downtime and money than healthcare. True story: An overwhelmed meeting planner no-showed for our conference call. Turns out she had a heart-attack at her desk and luckily survived. Why wait for a catastrophe before putting some much needed and deserved space between you and the office?
2. Breaks create breakthroughs! One in five small business owners thought up their idea while on vacation because time away from work provides the rare opportunity to think deeply and ignite your creative juices. Such was the case for Instagram’s Kevin Systrom who came up with the idea while walking on a beach in Mexico. Rather than sit at your screen and force yourself to find a needed solution, get off the grid and let the solution find you.
3. Breaks create connection. Should money limit a full-blown vacation, you can still opt for a staycation. Rather than disconnect from the world and binge on comfort foods and Netflix, choose to re-connect with pleasurable activities and people. Taking a walk in nature provides a host of health benefits, and even gardening or putzing around the house allows your mind to quietly wander, bringing you back to self. Spending time with people you enjoy, who make you laugh, or even randomly connecting with a stranger at Starbucks, fills our basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others. If life limits even a staycation, give yourself a break with a stillcation. Sit silently for ten minutes and focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders, simply bring your awareness back to your breath.
Give yourself a break today! Yes, the piles and emails will grow in your absence, but so will your clarity, concentration and productivity as a result.