Why do we work so hard, so long and rest so little? The health, creativity, social, and productivity benefits of leisure time are well documented. However, many of us feel guilty about taking a day off here and there, let alone a week or two.
According to A Forbes article I recently read that working 55 hours a week or more puts us at 35% higher risk of stroke and 17% higher risk of heart disease than a 35-40 hour work week. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of a work-life balance. We know that rest helps with sleep, creativity, health and disease-fighting, and even increased productivity at work.
So why don’t we take the vacation we so desperately need?
I think we’ve found the short answer in this Reach Higher discussion: leisure destroys our sense of need, value, and even indispensability. We live in a very competitive world. it can be easy to let our minds turn “time off to rest, recharge, rewind, reflect, and restore” into “time to let my boss and coworkers know they don’t need me.”
Like many other fears and worries, this one is completely overblown. And that can be put to rest with some perspective.
Put yourself in the shoes of any of your colleagues, your team, or even your manager. They tell you, “I’m taking a couple of weeks off on my dream vacation that my family and I have been putting off forever.” What is your first thought? I can almost guarantee that this is what I would have:
We give other people a lot more benefit of the doubt and psychological leeway than we do ourselves. Trust me, no one is going to fire you for taking enough time off to give yourself some rest and recharge time to be your best.
My Aim Higher panel has some great insights into why we’re so hesitant to take time off and how you can plan to make the whole experience less stressful.
Listen Aim higher.
See also Take a break.
Image credit: Sai Kiran Anagani
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