Canadians miss out on an average of three earned vacation days every year. While you may feel that's a small sacrifice to make to get the job done, the consequences may be bigger than you think.
Canadians spend about a third of their lives in the workplace. Even though it might seem productive to keep our noses to the grindstone, when we fail to disconnect, our job performance can actually decrease. Plus, without work-life balance, we put our minds and bodies at risk.
If you think you're too busy with work to take your hard-earned vacation days, check out these three reasons to take a break this summer:
Time away from work can boost your creativity. One of the biggest perks of vacation time is the break in routine. By changing things up during your time off, you expose your brain to new experiences and allow for your creativity to flow freely.
Tip: You don't need to break the bank to try new things during your vacation. A staycation can be just as beneficial as a trip – go hiking on a new trail or check out that new restaurant in town.
Vacation time improves overall mental health. Time off from work provides an opportunity to focus on areas of your life that you may neglect when you're hard at work. This means you'll have more time for self-care, more time to spend with loved ones and more time to enjoy your favourite activities.
Tip: To make the most out of your vacation time, try your best to engage in "active leisure" such as swimming, golf or cycling. Using your free time to get active outside will maximize the mental (and physical) health benefits of your vacation.
Taking vacation time can reduce stress and re-energize you. If you've ever returned from a vacation excited to come home, you'll understand why taking time away from work is so important. Taking a vacation from work helps to relieve work-related stress and reduces the symptoms of burnout. Vacations allow you to recharge your battery; they help boost your energy so that you return to work ready to take on new challenges.
Tip: To make sure you're getting the full benefits of time away from work, make sure to really disconnect. This means signing out of your email account and resisting the urge to spend an afternoon working on an ongoing project.
Happy (almost) summer!
This article originally appeared as part of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) quarterly newsletter. Subscribe at https://cmha.ca/cmha-quarterly-newsletter to stay updated on the CMHA's latest news, events and mental health tips.