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Mental Health Monday: Vacation?

This is the first Monday in our Mental Health Monday series.  Each week we will feature a topic or issue related to mental health and wellbeing that impacts business productivity and personal potential.  

For the first installment of many we thought it would be timely and relevant to examine the importance of vacation and the business incentives for taking a break (or rather consequences for not).

Summer marks a time for many Americans, especially around and after July 4th, where the possibility for a few days out of the office becomes a reality.  We pack up campers, head to the beach, check-in at the airport, put up that vacation message on our email…and then we start to wonder Should I go? Is it worth it? Won’t I be behind when I return? What will my boss say?  Will I lose a client? Is it too late to cancel?  Did I finish that proposal? Maybe I can spend time while on vacation checking e-mail or catching up?

Can you relate?

 In an article focused on the importance of vacations for Entrepreneurs, Lisa Evans points out that “Entrepreneurs are notoriously bad at taking time off. According to Sage Reinvention of Small Business Study, 43 percent of small business owners are taking less vacation time than five years ago.” In addition Forbes Magazine highlights findings from “An Assessment of Paid Time Off in the U.S.” commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group, and completed by Oxford Economics, “More than forty percent of American workers who received paid time off did not take all of their allotted time, despite the obvious personal benefits.”

So what then are some of these supposed benefits?

  • Higher productivity
  • Stronger workplace morale
  • Greater employee retention
  • Gives your body and brain a re-boot leading to increased creativity and clarity of thought 
  • New perspective on old issues
  • Break the “stress cycle”
  • Better decision making and emotional management

Get this, although today we are focused on your health and wellbeing (we know you really are driven by business success and numbers) a Forbes study determined there is even a positive economic impact when Americans commit to vacation.

“If workers used all of their available paid time off, the economy[/entity] would benefit from more than $160 billion in total business sales and $21 billion in tax revenues, spending that would support 1.2 million jobs in industries ranging from retail to manufacturing to transportation.”

If seeing all those positive outcomes (along with your family begging and pleading) doesn’t motivate you to pack your towel and sunscreen  here are a few of the potential drawbacks to not taking time away from work according to Psychology Today:

  • Chronic stress takes its toll in part on our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even ability to avoid injury.
  • When you’re stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill.
  • Your arteries take a beating.
  • You’re more likely to have an accident.
  • Your sleep will suffer.
  • You won’t digest your food as well.
  • The genetic material in the cells of your body may start to become altered in a bad way.
  • Mentally, not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse.
  • You’ll make poorer decisions.
  • You’ll also be less fun to be with, causing you to become more isolated, lonely, and depressed.

So we encourage you to allow yourself a few days to unplug from the important work that you do and the sense of urgency that drives it.  You earned it and we promise it will all be there when you return. For today, rest easy knowing that you are doing something that is not only vital for your personal health and wellbeing but will benefit your company outcomes, colleagues, clients, work product, friends, family, and the economy at large all serve to benefit from your decision to kick back and relax…for real.

Bon Voyage we will see you when you return.


Why Entrepreneurs Especially Need to Take a Vacation
The importance of vacations to our physical and mental health | Psychology Today
Take A Vacation: It’s Good For Productivity And The Economy, According To A New Study via Forbes

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