Time off is something that everyone needs and deserves. If you're a freelancer or entrepreneur, I'm sure you've been guilty of this at some point: your client says the project is due in two weeks, but you say, "No problem, I can do it in one." Then, inevitably, you're stuck cramming on the weekend before it's due. This is not optimal because short-term stress decreases your ability to concentrate, which increases your risk for errors, and increases your chances of doing it all over again.
If you’ve been sitting at a desk or typing away on your computer all day, you may be groaning at the idea of having to go out and enjoy what the sun has to offer. You may think the day is better spent working than lounging in the park or relaxing by the pool.
While there is nothing wrong with constantly being productive, taking a little time off will do wonders for your mental health. If you’re feeling burned out or stressed, consider taking time off to clear your head. You can even use these days as a reward for your hard work during the year.
You might be thinking it’s impossible to take any time off from work, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Many employers understand how important it is for their employees to take some time off, so they offer paid vacation days and holidays throughout the year.
Some companies even provide additional benefits like allowing people to bring their pets into the office, no joke. Or offering on-site fitness classes for employees who want to maintain their workout routine while unable to make it to outside classes. This can be extremely helpful if you’re trying to get into shape before going on vacation while keeping your job obligations in mind. Taking time off doesn’t mean you have to stop.
The reality is that most people don’t take enough time off. They work until they burn out, then they quit their jobs and move on to something else. But if you want to build a successful business, you must take time off work and recharge your batteries.
It’s hard to imagine, but people out there don’t take time off. It’s not a part of their DNA. They keep working continuously without giving themselves some time to rest and relax. They think they can’t afford it or simply don’t believe it is essential.
I’m not saying you should never work again—I love my job! But if you don’t take some time off, your business will suffer in the long run.
The first step is figuring out what lifestyle will make you happy when you’re not working. Do you enjoy spending time with friends? Do you love going on adventures? Or maybe reading books in bed while eating ice cream? Whatever it is, make sure that whatever lifestyle you choose won’t be too difficult to maintain while still allowing room for growth (and maybe even more travel).
You’ll become more productive
Taking a break from work is often one of the best ways to recharge your batteries and make you more productive when you return. This happens because your mind feels refreshed and ready to tackle new tasks after having time away from them. This can be especially helpful if it’s been months since you’ve taken any time off or if it’s been a while since your last vacation.
You’ll be able to focus
When we’re busy working, it’s easy for us to get caught up in doing things that don’t really matter — especially if they’re urgent or easy to complete — rather than focusing on those things that really matter most in our lives: spending time with loved ones; exercising regularly; volunteering at an animal shelter; etc…
Take time to rest and recharge
Take me, for example. I’ve been working at Mentor Motivations for two years while raising two wonderful girls with my wife. While embarking on this project has and continues to give me plenty of opportunities to learn new skills and grow professionally. They haven’t allowed me to rest as much as I want during those two years.
I’ll be honest—now that I’m sitting here drinking my coffee and writing this article about how important rest is for business owners like yourself. Who probably already knows how important it is but needs some inspiration to make it happen.
The benefits of taking time off can be seen in several areas, from physical health to mental well-being.
The benefits of taking a vacation are innumerable, and if you need someone to tell you why you should take a break, here’s what some of the most notable researchers have said about vacations:
They decrease your levels of stress and depression, help you live longer, increase your happiness levels, improve your quality of life as well as help you live up to 20% longer by decreasing your chances of heart attack or stroke or even cancer. You also enjoy better relationships with family members and friends. You are even more productive at work when you come back after your vacation.
Did you know that the average American worker receives just 10 vacation days per year?
According to a report from Statista, the average American worker receives just 10 vacation days per year. Compared to the European Union, where workers receive an average of 20 paid vacation days per year.
But who wants to be off work anyway? Who has time for that? It’s much better to work hard and ensure everything is done right—that way, you can feel good about yourself and your accomplishments. But is it really worth it in the long run?
If you don’t make time for rest and relaxation, you’re only setting yourself up for burnout.
Burnout plays a major role in your physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged or excessive stress. It’s not uncommon for business owners or full-time salaried employees to experience burnout at some point in their careers. We are only human, after all.
Symptoms of burnout include: feeling overwhelmed, drained, or exhausted; feeling detached from or cynical about your work; having difficulty concentrating or completing tasks, and experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or stomach problems.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, taking a step back and assessing your situation is essential. Are you working too much? Are you taking enough time for yourself? It’s crucial to find a balance that works for you.
One of the best ways to prevent burnout is to take regular vacations. In need of some useful advice now and with no vacation in sight? Take a read at “The Best Ways To Calm And Carry On”, chalked full of useful advice.
I know, I know. Vacations can be expensive, and it’s hard to get away from work when there’s so much to do. But trust me, it’s worth it.
You will come back from your vacation feeling like you can take on the world. But that separation will shift your perspective and help you develop new, creative solutions to problems you may have been struggling with.
Think of this article as a pep talk. The top freelancers and CEOs in the world understand that without giving your brain and body a little rest, you’ll never be able to reach your full potential. And everyone needs a little break from time to time (except for maybe bill collectors and termites).
That being said, remember to be smart about your time off. If you want to relax, make sure you’re doing something that lets you relax. Some things might require more preparation (summer vacation vs. a last-minute beach trip). Still, the important thing is that they allow you to feel refreshed and ready to jump back into your normal activities. So if you haven’t taken a day off in a long time, don’t let yourself get rusty – use this chance to recharge your batteries and return with renewed energy.
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I like to leave you with a quote.
Buchholz, K., & Richter, F. (2022, January 27). Infographic: The time off work employees are entitled to. Statista Infographics. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/chart/15005/statutory-minimum-paid-leave-and-public-holidays/
ZGuz. (2018, August 15). This chart shows how far behind America is in paid time off compared to the rest of the world. CNBC. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/15/statista-how-far-behind-us-is-in-paid-time-off-compared-to-the-world.html
Health benefits of vacations. (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.healthnet.com/portal/home/content/iwc/home/articles/health_benefits_of_vacations.action
Wilson, B. (2009, August 17). Relax! vacations are good for your health. NPR. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2009/08/17/111887591/relax-vacations-are-good-for-your-health