Americans work more hours per year than anyone else in the world. That much work takes a toll on physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. To make it short, you need a break from work and we’ve got some ideas on how you should spend it. We’ll start with the fun part, and then go through the details.
Ideas On Where To Go And What To Do
This is the fun part, decide what to do with your break. Do you stay at home and sleep for days? Do you go on a mini-vacation? Here are some suggestions to make the most of your time.
- Do some offroad adventuring. Find a site to rent an appropriate truck, pack it with supplies, and just head out. Use the freedom of your vacation, and your vehicle to go somewhere new and exciting for an extended period of time.
- Drive to the desert.
- Plan a vacation or a mini-vacation. How far you can go depends on how much time you have, but there are sights worth seeing everywhere. Book your hotel and go.
- Go to the beach.
- Get some entertainment. Go to a music festival, a fair, the movies, whatever sounds appealing to you.
- Drive off into the wilderness.
- Visit family or friends. They’d love to see you and it’s an option that keeps expenses low.
- Go camping, hiking, mountain climbing, or do anything else that involves nature. Spending time outdoors is a natural way to calm stress and anxiety.
- Breathe in all the fresh air you can get before you return to the office.
- Read the book you haven’t found time for.
- Take a physical fitness class.
- Get creative. Make something you want to make. Doing something you’re passionate about lowers stress and releases endorphins.
- Begin making lifestyle changes you’ve been putting off.
- Learn how to cook a new dish.
- Do some self-study on a subject you find interesting to stimulate your brain in a different way.
- Volunteer in your community so you feel more connected.
- Have a staycation. Turn off the phone, curl up with the blanket, and binge that show everyone’s been talking about.
- Start learning a new hobby, or spend time enjoying old hobbies.
The goal is to do something that relaxes and rejuvenates you, it doesn’t matter what it is. Find your happy place and spend some time there.
Why You Might Think You Don’t Need A Break
Everyone needs time to relax and recharge. Unfortunately, there are some harmful myths and stigmas surrounding this in the American workforce.
- Many American workers report thinking their boss will find them lazy or unmotivated if they take lunch breaks. If that’s the stigma around lunch breaks, you can imagine why people are afraid to ask for vacations.
- Many companies have strict policies designed to make it difficult to take time off.
- Employees often feel that they’ll be harming the company by taking time off.
- People believe that the only way to be a good worker is to work all the time. In reality, this can actually hurt your productivity.
You should always put in time off requests as far in advance as possible. You should also make sure the amount of time you’re requesting off is acceptable according to your contract. If both of those conditions are met, there’s no reason you should feel guilty for asking for a break.
Why You Definitely Do Need A Break
Being overworked can affect all areas of your life, and it doesn’t even make you more productive.
- Working too much leads to high levels of stress and low quality of life.
- Stress is the number one cause of health problems.
- Taking a break allows you to gain focus and energy.
- Longer hours can decrease productivity and quality of work. The more your work, the more likely you are to make mistakes.
- You’ll have time to develop new ideas and solutions.
- Too much time spent at work puts stress on your significant relationships.
- Taking a break from your normal routine allows you to change pace and be more creative.
- You can take some time to remind yourself who you are outside of work.
- Working too much can cause you to hate a job you’d otherwise enjoy. This is often called job burnout.
- You can use the time to reevaluate where you are in your career and what your next steps should be.
The mind and body need downtime to keep functioning properly, without that both your work and your life will suffer. Taking time off refreshes you and lets you come back prepared to do better work.
How Do You Get The Break?
Be honest and communicative about why you need the break and when you plan to take it. Use any method that doesn’t violate your contract or your company policies.
- Use vacation days. They usually don’t roll over, so you need to use them anyway.
- Use personal days. Companies generally don’t want you building up too many of these anyway.
- Request time off in advance, and be honest about why you want it.
- Explain to your manager why you feel you need time off and how you think the rest will improve your work when you return.
- Offer to do some work in advance so your time off won’t cause problems.
- Ask about working from home. This will at least get you a change of scenery and eliminate the stress of a commute.
- Take advantage of your weekends and days off. Don’t hesitate to tell people you’re taking a day or two to yourself.
- Trade shifts with co-workers to get larger chunks of consecutive time.
- If you’re switching jobs soon, plan a week off between leaving one job and starting another.
How you get time off will depend on where you work. Try a combination of any or all of these if necessary.
You probably already knew, or at least suspected, why you need a break from work. Hopefully, this list gives you some ideas for how to get it and how to make it as beneficial as possible. A break will be good for your health and will let you return to work refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.