The Value of Vacations and Breaks

Definition of a workaholic

There’s more to life than work! Did you hear yourself saying that during or following you vacation this summer? The work ethic is so strong in our culture that regardless of our role, we often feel guilty about

  •  Working less than 65 hours per week
  •  Taking a vacation
  •  Feeling tired
  •  Leaving work early
  •  Taking a mental health day
  •  Being sick
  •  Looking after our own needs

and it’s only after we have come down from the stress of work that we come to our senses. Are you a workaholic who is striving to meet unrealistic expectations (of others or yourself)? 

Definition of a healthy worker

In The Complete Guide to Your Emotions and Your Health – New Dimensions in Mind/Body Healing (edited by Emrika Padus of Prevention Magazine) , a healthy worker is defined as one who

· Knows when to stop

· Can spot the beginning of fatigue and respond promptly

· Spend time with family and friends

· Schedule and enjoy vacations

· Exercises regularly

· Has other outlets for their personal drive – other than work

· Knows what to do with and is comfortable with leisure time

· Can handle doing nothing

· Is comfortable in unstructured time

Build a vacation retreat into every day

Well first of all we can “stop yearning for time we don’t have and make use of the time we do have” (The Artist’s Way at Work by Bryan, Cameron & Allen) We can pay more attention to our needs and decide to look after them. We can bring comfort to our lives. We can take some spiritual/intellectual breaks, go for walks, listen to relaxing music in the car….I’m sure we know what would work. So why don’t we do it?

Planning to be productive

In The Great Crossover, Dan Sullivan suggests that our most productive time is ten days following a vacation. We all return to work with new perspectives, higher energy and likely a breakthrough, so why not plan for 5 to 10 breakthrough times per year? He says we should take free time just prior to the time we need to achieve success, productivity and results.

Encourage your team members to rejuvenate themselves in a healthy way (eating nourishing foods, getting lots of sleep, exercise and meditating time, and spending time in nature) knowing that they will become more productive.

What systemic barriers could you remove so that you and your team members make the most of their creative/focus time? What aspects of your office culture encourage people to be connected at all times, at the expense of personal rejuvenation?

Coaching Questions to Stimulate Reflection About Your Life & Work

1. Here’s a list of benefits you can get from a vacation, how many did you experience? Can you add to this list?

a. Relaxation

b. Escape from overload

c. Stimulation of new insights

d. Meeting new people

e. Fellowship and camaraderie

f. Education/new skills

g. Adventure/romance

h. Surprise

i. Beauty

j. Anticipation

k. Memories

l. Freedom

m. Self-discovery

n. Time standing still – being in the moment

o. Happiness

p. Sharpened awareness

q. Contrast – a different personal space

2. How can you incorporate these into your day to day life?

3. What are the ways that you unwind? Which are healthy and which are unhealthy?

4. What new habit would you like to incorporate into your day-to-day routine?