My mom and I went on a cruise to Alaska this summer. We saw whales and seals and glaciers. We looked across the Pacific Ocean and had deep thoughts. We ate great food, and we met interesting people.
Some of our time was action packed when we took excursions. But there was a lot of time we just sat around. With little to no WiFi access on the ship, we couldn’t create much distraction. There was nothing to do but relax. My mind had nothing to occupy it – I just sat and looked out at the scenery.
It’s hard to get relaxed at home. Even when I’m not working, my mind tells me I should be. It has all kinds of thoughts about what I could be getting accomplished. Sometimes that’s helpful motivation, but often it’s just an unreasonable pace to keep.
That’s why vacations are important. Big ones that require saving up and making plans AND small ones – little weekends away or even pleasant afternoons in a park.
The US is the only developed country that doesn’t require employers to provide paid vacation leave. (Compare that to Brazil with a total of 30 paid work days a year or France with 36.) And even those who have access to paid vacation don’t always take it. In 2015, we left a whopping 658 million vacation days unused.
This is especially interesting considering that vacation actually makes us more productive and more efficient.
Fear is a main reason employees don’t use vacation, and 80% of employees in one study said they would take vacation if they were supported by their boss.
Here are some things you can do to integrate and celebrate vacation as a part of a healthy workplace.
At the end of my vacation last month, I got on a plane back to Canton, Ohio with a phone full of wild Alaskan pictures and an In Box full of email. I was thrilled about both. I hope your next vacation ends the same way.
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