By Daniel Olivan on December 12, 2015
If you’re reading this right now, you’re probably part of the lucky group of employees who are getting a proper vacation during the Christmas, and maybe even the New Year, season. Whether it’s a two-week long rest or a meager two to four days’ worth of day-offs (literally, Christmas Day and Even and New Year’s Day and Eve), those are still precious days of time away from the hustle and stress of work.
A majority of us will most likely enjoy forgetting about work completely the moment they time-out of the office the day before the vacation season. But there will be a handful of us who will think that taking a vacation will only stop them from making progress in their career, or will fret about the possible unanswered emails and unfinished projects that need to be addressed ASAP.
Well, this article is for that handful of workaholics (like me) who need to be reminded about why we need vacations in the first place, especially this festive Christmas season. And even if you’re sure you’re never thinking about work this holiday season, it’s good to be reminded of the right reasons why.
Do it for your health.
One of the immediate reasons as to why you should strive to unplug during the holidays is because it’s good for your health. Especially if your work demands that you work almost everyday, even at home, this is definitely much needed rest.
Research shows that people who work more than 40 hours per week increase their chances of getting heart disease. Their mental health also suffers, as overworked and/or workaholic members of the workforce are more prone to major depressive episodes, apart from the degradation of cognitive functions due to work stress.
Where does vacation come in in all of this? While there are times you can’t avoid the long work hours or the crazy stress at work, vacations, day-offs, and legitimate leaves will help improve your overall health.
Vacationers, for one thing, avoid all the above risks from getting worse, or even from happening, when they take vacations once in a while. They also “recharge,” and get back to better working efficiency after a restful getaway. Not surprisingly, vacationers also go back to work happier (but only if the vacation itself was stress-free and relaxing, so make sure you plan your vacation, and your leaves, right).
On the grimmer side of things, a 1991 study conducted on housewives showed that those who vacation only once every six years or less almost doubled their chances of having a heart attack. Imagine how the statistic would be for the employees who would have the added stress of commuting to work and have to work away from the comforts of home.
Do it for your career.
It might be strange to think how getting away from work will actually help you be better at it and in fact even help you advance in your career. After all, where’s the productivity in doing nothing else but relaxing on the beach, or simply taking time for yourself for a day or two?
But besides the fact working longer hours and non-stop can actually negatively impact worker productivity (in other words, bad performance at work), the recharge you’ll get from taking a vacation will actually make you perform better at work. You’ll not only feel rested, but you’ll also for more engaged with work.
The effects of vacations, unfortunately, don’t last long. It will only take a matter of time before the stress builds up, so it’s actually much better to take vacations on regular intervals. Maybe once a year, at least.
If you’re worried that you’ll look bad by taking vacations, it’s all about being timely and planning out your vacation time. If you prepare well enough for it, both in planning your vacation and in coordinating with your team in your workplace, taking regular vacations are absolutely possible.
Do it for yourself.
In the end, making sure you get the rest that you need and deserve is what counts the most. Christmastime is probably the most universally recognized holiday in the Philippines. It’s the only time of the year when it’s almost certain that everyone gets a day off, or at least an early dismissal from work.
Of course, no one should ever forget work completely. necessary to work during the holidays. And according to Ilan Mochari Inc.com and Laura Vanderkam of Fortune, it might even be good to do some work during the holidays to help you keep your momentum.
But for now, give yourself a proper break. It’s not just a requirement given to you by your workplace. Nor is it simply a reward that you should get after an entire year of hard work. As Jenna Birch wrote in Yahoo! Health, “You don’t just deserve it. You need it.”