I have a question for you: When was the last time that you took a day off – a REAL day off, completely unplugged – from the responsibilities that you have at the office? When was the last time you allowed yourself one full day of reprieve so that you could decompress, and engage in a little self-care (which we all need!) completely untethered from your phone, email, and all of the other devices that often rule your work week?
As we round out Season 10 of Productivity Paradox with Episode 130 this week, we’re tackling a concept that’s really one of the hardest obstacles that so many of us in the workforce face year-round: Taking a full, uninterrupted day off.
For so many of us, we believe that taking a mental health day away from the office will wreak havoc on our productivity… and leave us with an insurmountable pile of work on our desks when we return – so much so, that we fear that, if we take a day off (even a paid day off!), we’ll forever be playing catch-up on all of the tasks we pushed Pause on when it’s time to get back to work.
But here’s the thing… No matter what it is that you do career-wise, no matter how much you have going on and regardless of all of the Big Ticket tasks you have to tend to each week, every single one of us deserves a day off once in a while.
So today, I want to focus on exactly WHY it’s important that you nip any hesitation you feel about taking a well-deserved day off (or heck, even a week-long vacation!) in the bud by discussing some of the benefits that we can gain by allowing ourselves to take a mental break away from our day jobs.
Let’s jump in!
I know, I know… We’ve talked about the importance of compartmentalizing and about seeking harmony between our personal life and our work life many times before. But guess what: there’s a reason that I like to bring it up so much…
Finding harmony between the different realms of our lives is important! Not only that, but it’s often imperative when it comes to the amount of stress we feel on any given day.
If we’re overworked, our personal life suffers. So why not give yourself a chance to decompress by taking a day off every few months or so? Or better yet, why not give yourself a chance to put that PTO that you’ve accumulated to good use by planning to take at least two vacations each year?
After all, benefits like PTO are there for a reason. If you don’t enjoy them (like you should), then all of that accumulated time is – well – essentially wasted money.
The more you’re able to take a step back from your work responsibilities, the easier it will be for you to find that work-life harmony we’re always talking about.
And trust me, work will always be there when you return – and those on your team, your office, and everything that goes along with it will survive without you while you’re giving yourself the opportunity to relax and take those deep breaths you need in order to regroup!
How often do you find yourself skipping a night out with friends or spending time with your partner so that you can work late at the office?
If you’re guilty of this – even if it only happens once in a while – then it’s time to give yourself a chance to spend a little more time with your loved ones doing all of the things that you love to do outside of the office. Trust me, your mental health and well-being will thank you for it!
The more harmony you’re able to cultivate between your work life and your personal life, the easier it will be for you to invest some of your time in those that are most important to you– and the more growth you’ll experience in those relationships as a result.
After all, it’s important to remember that the time we have to live our life is finite… and money isn’t everything. Those you keep in your inner circle at home won’t be around forever!
So, while you still have some time in your life to spare… spend it wisely. Go out with your friends and family when the opportunity arises; enjoy those Friday evenings cuddled on the couch with your partner, your kids, or your pets. See what happens!
I don’t know about you, but little else contributes to my anxiety more than working long hours at the studio, X number of days in a row, without any sort of reprieve in between.
Giving yourself the opportunity to enjoy a day off, or even a week or two of vacation, is a great way to break out of the mundane routine of the regular work week (particularly if you’re someone whose work often interferes with what should otherwise be a relaxing weekend).
Who knows? You might find that giving yourself a mental health day once in a while will do wonders when it comes to resetting your focus, not only when it comes to your work tasks and priorities, but also when it comes to what you have going on in the background of your day-to-day job.
And I don’t know about you, but… a chance to hit that Reset button when I’m feeling overwhelmed and overworked is often exactly what I need to find my footing and my motivation to tackle all of the things I have on my plate at the office when I get back into work mode!
We’ve discussed the importance of taking a break during the work day before – and why it does wonders when it comes to our mental health and well-being… So, imagine what a full day away from all of those work responsibilities can do!
When it comes to overcoming feelings of stress and anxiety, and to getting a good night’s sleep, giving yourself some time to unplug and step away from the office is imperative.
After all, did you know that stress wreaks havoc on your mental health and your physical health? It’s true! Studies have shown that high levels of stress – which is common for those of us who work long hours, skip breaks in between tasks, and neglect to indulge in our PTO – contributes to exhaustion, both mentally and physically.
Not only that, but how often do you find yourself getting up and moving around when you’re in work mode? For so many of us, our jobs are pretty sedentary. Giving yourself a day away from the office is a great way to get your body moving, which has shown to lower your risk of heart disease and inflammation, and it has been shown to do wonders for your immune system to boot!
So, if you’re still hesitating to give yourself the chance to cash in on some of that PTO for whatever reason… Why not look at it as being beneficial (a requirement, if you will) for your health instead?
The general consensus of taking a day off is that it will be detrimental to your productivity.
Friends, I’ve got to say this loud and clear: THAT. IS. SO. NOT. TRUE.
In fact, scheduling breaks into your work day, and taking a mental health day (or a full vacation!) away from the office from time to time, has been shown to do the exact opposite to how productive we are when get back to work…
And it’s largely because our brain actually craves those moments of reprieve (especially during the work day, in between tasks that require a lot of our mental focus) to decompress and regenerate!
Still don’t believe me? Be sure to refer back to Episode 082 to learn some of the science behind breaks, and exactly why you – and your brain – need more of them in your life.
If you haven’t taken time off from work in a while, tell me: What’s been holding you back from hitting the Pause button at work so that you can decompress, re-center, and reconnect with your family and friends? Share any hesitations you have – or better yet, your experiences during a vacation that you did partake in recently! – in the comments below…
And definitely check out Episode 130 of the podcast this week to learn even more about the importance of giving yourself a breather from your work responsibilities, and how you can overcome any guilt you might be feeling when it comes to taking a well-deserved day off!