It is hard to believe that we are midway through another summer, my favorite time of year. I can’t get enough of these beautiful sunny days and the joys that come with this season–-family road trips, picnics with good friends, sports, fun and beach time…
But odds are, you probably haven’t taken any time off to enjoy these activities. Many workers are increasingly choosing not to take vacation. Research conducted by The Project: Time Off Coalition found that over half of all Americans are leaving “time off” on the table. Surprisingly, the challenges that workers have previously cited as barriers to taking vacation (i.e., can’t afford it, don’t want to return to a mountain of work, desire to show complete dedication to the company, etc.) seem to be declining, yet workers are still wary.
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. – John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894
Vacation exists for a reason, and it is proven that time off is good for everyone – the employee, their family, and the company. Taking a break results in a happy and healthy mindset, and a refreshed worker ready to tackle the next task.
Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. – Sam Keen
So, how do you make this happen for both you and your team?
- Lead by example. Workers, particularly those with less seniority than you, may be hesitant to take time off because they worry it will be perceived as a lack of commitment. Break the paradigm; encourage others by asking them about their summer vacation plans while sharing your own.
- Consider summer vacation a chance to recharge your batteries and renew your energy for the second half of the year. Most of us start out in January with a bang – we have our resolutions defined, our task lists organized, and our goals mapped out. A mid-year break may be exactly what you need to be able to reassess and redefine. You’ll return to work ready to finish the final six months of the year with an achievable set of goals.
- Attack that bucket list! A few days off can allow you to check off that once-in-a-lifetime experience of going on an African safari, hiking part of the Appalachian Trail or giving parasailing a whirl. Progress on anything–whether it a work goal or a life goal–is a powerful motivating force.
- Take vacation in small doses. Consider scheduling a series of half days over the course of a few weeks or months. This may eliminate anxiety about being unavailable to your clients for an extended period of time. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant outing, either. Spend an afternoon with your kids at the pool. Head to the local amusement park. Enjoy reading a book on your patio.
Take note of your stress levels and outlook before and after your vacation. Now that you’re back, do you feel rested? Re-charged? Blessed? Bursting with ideas? Remember these feelings as you look at your remaining vacation days. Use them wisely, but most importantly: use them all.