7 Reasons You Must Take a Vacation, Even If You ‘Can’t’
Many people find it difficult, if not impossible, to take the vacation time that is coming to them and get away from the office for a while. There are always a million reasons why “taking a vacation is impossible right now.” Work is too busy, you have a presentation/meeting/client on the horizon that you can’t miss, etc. Some folks even proudly proclaim, “Oh, I never use my vacation time,” as if that’s a good thing. But, in a lot of ways, it’s not. Maybe this list of reasons that you simply must take a vacation, even though you “really can’t right now” will help to convince you.
(Photo Credit: Nick Harris1/Flickr)
1. Your health.
It’s easy to ignore your health when you’re feeling well, but advocating for your own personal wellness, via taking a vacation, is the most important thing you can do to take care of yourself. Vacations restore health. Besides, be honest with yourself, is your health really okay right now? Or, have you had a slight cold for two months, trouble sleeping, chronic headaches, anxiety…. Don’t minimize this stuff. It matters! Take a vacation instead.
2. There’s no one to fill in for you, and there should be.
Of course, you’re the one and only you. But, if you feel like the nature of your job is such that no one can cover your bases when you’re not around, then it can be really difficult to figure out how to get away. But, here’s the thing, you really should – because this structure isn’t fair and it isn’t sustainable. Talk to your employer about it, or a few trusted co-workers who might be able to help you get coverage for your time off. Think out of the box and find a solution, because never taking any time away ever again is not an option. At least, it’s not a healthy, fair, or good one.
3. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
Being afraid of the mountain of work we’ll return to, or worrying that no one at the company can replace us if we take time off, are the top two reasons Americans give for not using their vacation time. Being afraid we can’t afford it is number three. But, vacations don’t have to be expensive. There is a lot to be gained from a staycation, or going to visit family or friends. The bottom line is, a vacation doesn’t have to be expensive for you to enjoy it and benefit from it. It’s getting away that’s key. Where you go and how much it costs isn’t important.
4. Because vacation time is one of the best benefits around, and you should take advantage of that aspect of your compensation.
Contracts (sometimes) entitle us to vacations. However, that fact doesn’t stop a lot of us from worrying about what the boss will think if we use them. A lot of offices have a culture that revolves around a hyper-focus and commitment to the work, a culture that seems to look down upon anyone who leaves for any reason besides utter exhaustion, necessity, or major illness. But, the truth is, no one will be impressed by you not using your vacation time, and you might actually help your co-workers by doing something to change the culture that surrounds you all by using yours. Americans only take half of their paid vacation time, and therefore miss out on a huge contractual aspect of their compensation. Chances are, you’ve probably already let many of your vacation days pass unused in years past; consider taking a different approach going forward. You’re literally entitled to it.
5. Your family.
Vacations help families bond, and it helps everyone relax and heal individually as well. These days, kids need vacations too, and most also crave more time with their parents. However, it might be worth considering taking about half of the vacation time with your kids and reserving the other half for adults only. You’ll feel more rested if you get a little time to yourself, and this will ultimately benefit the entire family.
6. Because things are so busy right now.
A lot of folks might view an especially busy time at work as a reason not to take a vacation, but waiting until things calm down around the office to take time off is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First, (and you know this is true) that time may never come. And second, why wait until things have relaxed to take time off? Do it now – while you’re insanely busy. Miss out on a little of the chaos. They will survive without you, and you’ll be more ready to hit the ground running when you return.
7. Because you won’t regret it.
You won’t regret taking a vacation. In fact, you’ll remember it forever. What are the chances that something of similar personal noteworthiness will happen if you stay at the office?
Tell Us What You Think
What makes it hard for you to take a vacation? Will you go anyway? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.
Gina Belli works as a teacher, freelance writer, and educational consultant, and lives in her beloved home state, Connecticut. She likes to write about education, work-life balance, and the economy. Given her arresting capacity to over-analyze anything interpersonal, her writing often tends to focus on some of the more emotional aspects of workplace connections and disconnections, as they relate to partnerships and teams, personality and communication styles, and leadership. In her free time, she likes to putter around her renovated one-room schoolhouse home, take walks in the woods, and eat as much guacamole as she can get her hands on.