It’s officially our Christmas break, which means it’s time to finally have that vacation we’ve all been waiting for. A lot goes into planning the perfect vacation, and it can be difficult especially if you’re working. Why? Because you need to find the perfect balance between work and vacation. You have to finish all your tasks at the office so you’re not that stressed while you’re on your trip. And even though it’s exciting to make such travel plans, you’re also probably worried about all the workload you have to leave behind. You have those fears where you think you’re going to fail your bosses (or the company itself) if you ask for time off.
Although these fears are understandable, you shouldn’t be thinking about them too much. In fact, taking a vacation is good for you—and for your employer, too. In a study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, researchers found that “taking time off from work can boost your productivity, engagement, and overall happiness.”
However, it can still be difficult to get over “vacation guilt.” Even I get those feelings of uneasiness. I’m currently in Japan right now to celebrate the holidays with my mom, but I can’t help but feel like I don’t deserve to be here. I’m devoted to my job, but being on vacation doesn’t make me feel like it. The thought of work piling up and choosing to go on vacation seem more troubling for me.
But why do we feel guilty when we take time off and what can we do about it?
According to Parade, one reason why we feel such guilt is because “society puts pressure on us that we should be working all the time.” Picture this: You’re posting Instagram photos of you on your trip when suddenly, a friend or co-worker will tell you, “Ang daming time,” or “I wish I can go on vacations too but I’m too busy with work.” I mean, wouldn’t you feel guilty? That would just make you feel like you’re not prioritizing your work enough—even if you were.
But if you know to yourself that you’ve already done what you had to do, then you shouldn’t let those kinds of remarks affect you. You don’t have to be constantly on the run to do the next big thing—try to acknowledge that you’ve already done so much. So sit back and admire yourself.
Lisa Hutchison, a licensed psychotherapist, also stated the importance of mindset when going on vacation. “Instead of feeling like you are taking [time] away from your family [and work], think of your time away as an opportunity to replenish your energy,” she says. “You give more from a full cup.”
Another reason why we fear taking a vacation is the idea that there will be a ton of work and emails waiting for you.
To help you with this, you have to make time first for what really matters. I suggest you finish all your tasks before going somewhere else, so you won’t be that anxious about the work you haven’t done. Prioritize and set your goals—and say no to extra tasks. You’re on leave, for God’s sake.
What can employers do to help you have that work-life balance?
Life coach Jaime Kulaga emphasizes that managers and leaders should be educated about having a healthy work-life balance. “Look at the workload that [they’re] delegating out to people. If you see someone drowning or someone has taken on all the projects, those are the people you might need to help de-stress. Get some stuff off their plate! Those are two really good places to start.” As much as we all love this idea, we also need to realize that our bosses need a vacation too. Work is not the only thing that keeps people going: we also need to value time with our loved ones.
So this holidays, focus on what you’ll be doing on your vacation instead of what you’ll be missing in work. Take advantage of your vacation leaves and try to use it as an opportunity to learn something new. As Minnesota-based coach Rebekah Buege puts it: “It’s not your responsibility to shape your life around everything you’re expected to do.”
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
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