I am a great believer in mini-breaks and when I worked in the corporate world I used to take them as often as I could. I was never one of those people who saved up all their holiday (all 20 days that your employer generously gave you!) and took 3-4 weeks at a time to go on a big holiday to the USA or Europe.
” I actually saw what taking one big holiday did to people.”
By the time the holiday came round, they were exhausted as they had taken NO breaks throughout the year, yet when they came back from 3-4 weeks away they acted as if they had never been away. They were instantly stressed the minute they came back to work.
In fact, I know several of my colleagues who would go through their e-mails the night before they were officially due back at work, to cut down the stress. Really? I also had colleagues who the managers forced to take annual leave because they had not used up their leave in so long. I never had that problem !
You don’t have to go away to take a break, nor does it need to be expensive. You can have a staycation where you stay at home and relax, catch up on the gardening or DIY or explore areas of your town or city that you haven’t been to before.
It was my husband’s birthday last week and I had organised a few surprises including a one night city break in Brisbane (review on that coming soon). However I’m now self-employed so I was wracked with guilt that I wasn’t working for 2 days. Even though I had done some work the weekend before and stayed up late the night before we were due to go away, I still found it hard to accept that I would be away from my office for a couple of days.
After mulling it over I actually confessed this to my husband on his birthday whilst we were having a drink, watching the rain come down in Brisbane during the afternoon. My husband is the sensible one. Always calming me down and being logical and rational. He explained that I’d worked really hard lately, that I had spent a lot of time launching my websites and seeing new clients since we’d moved to a new area. It made sense what he said (it always does) and I knew he was right because I’m a big believer in taking breaks away from work. I just needed someone else to tell me that it was OK.
So, here are my 5 top reasons why everyone should take mini breaks:
1. Stress relief
Everyone can cope with short bursts of stress but constant stress with no relief can lead to chronic stress, which can lead to sickness, anything from constant headaches to heart attacks. Let’s take a simple step to avoid this-use your leave!
2. Increases Productivity
A 2011 study published in ‘Cognition’ journal showed that taking a small break from a task can actually cause you to be more productive over a prolonged period of time. Imagine what a holiday could do for your productivity levels. I am sure every manager would appreciate increased productivity.
3. Recharge your battery
When you’re on holiday you don’t have to worry about a routine such as getting up at a certain time and sitting in peak hour traffic. Holidays are a perfect time to throw routine out of the window, to live in the moment, read the book you’ve been meaning to pick up for months or try the art class down the road. Do it!
4. Reconnect with ourselves, our loved ones and our family
Holidays are a perfect time to unwind and spend some time with your family and yourself, really connecting. Put away the phone, get away from technology and make special memories that will last a lifetime. My husband still talks about his family caravan trips when he was a child and how much he loved them.
5. Reclaim some fun in your life!
I hear so many people saying that all they do is go to work and pay the bills. Now is the time to change that. Did you know that one of the top regrets of the dying is that they wish they hadn’t worked so hard? Make sure you don’t have that regret. Get out there, explore a different part of your city, try something new or go and do something you loved to do as a child. Maybe it’s kite flying, maybe its collecting shells on the beach. Be spontaneous and do it!
Whether you work for yourself, or you need to get that leave form signed off by your manager, take some time off. Take some time away from technology and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones. I promise you that you won’t regret it.