6 Health Benefits Of Taking Time Off From Work

It's unfortunate that we can't vacation whenever we want. If everyone got days off from work each time they sighed and said "ugh, I need a vacation," then the entire world's economy would come to a screeching halt. But we can benefit from the occasional day off from work.

Think about it — when was the last time you took a mental health day? According to an article on CNBC.com, U.S. workers are using only 77 percent of their paid time off, and the use of vacation days is at its lowest point in the past four decades. So I'll venture to guess that you probably haven't had some "me time" in a long time.

We busy Americans rarely indulge in our vacation days, and that's probably because we do view them as an "indulgence." I know that I feel guilty AF when I take a day off, and so I need to be pretty darn sick in order to do so. But being horribly sick shouldn't be the only time you take off (and many people don't even do it then). If you overwork yourself, you're just going to burn out, get sicker, and eventually do a disservice to your boss, your career, and your health. 

So, for the love of God, take some days off. And if you need further convincing, then check out these reasons to finally take that much needed break.

1. You'll Reset Yourself Mentally

Nothing can lead to an anxiety attack faster than working a million days all in a row. So taking even one day off can help reset yourself mentally, and make it easier to have a clear head once back at work. According to Minda Zetlin on INC.com, "A growing body of scientific evidence explains what many of us have learned from unpleasant experience: Push yourself through too many hours or days of work and your brain starts to push back. Ideas that once flowed easily dry up, and tasks that you should be able to perform quickly become excruciatingly difficult ... you need to give your brain, and yourself, some rest." Amen to that.

2. You'll Feel Way More Productive When You Return

You know the refreshed feeling you get when you take a few minutes away from your desk? Well imagine what a whole day, or week, could do for your productivity. In fact, it works like such a charm that more companies are starting to realize the importance of time off — especially time off to pursue your own creative pursuits. As Timi Gustafson, R.D., noted on the Huffington Post, "Forward-thinking companies like Google are well known for their efforts to enhance creativity by giving employees time off to pursue ideas of their own, regardless the outcome. Some of their most successful innovations have come out of that policy." So basically, take time off, and invent the Android phone? Right?

3. You'll Gain A Better Work/Life Balance

Taking time off helps remind you that you are, in fact, a person. And probably a person who has interests and hobbies. So take the time to remember what they are, and make sure you schedule them into your weekly routine.

4. You'll Realize You Need To Stop Taking Work Home

People are finding it more difficult than ever to leave work at work. After all, you get emails all day on your phone, so it seems normal to continue the day even after you've left the office. As Jen Uscher notes on WebMD.com, "If you're finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you're not alone. Many people are putting in extra hours, or using their smartphones to be on call when they're not physically at work." Take a day off and break yourself of this habit. Once you get a taste of sweet, sweet freedom, you'll want to help preserve the benefits of your time off.

5. You'll Rekindle Your Relationships

Are you the type to push off dates with your SO, or a girls' night with friends in favor of time at the office? If this is the case, you need a reality check. While work is incredibly important, and it's wonderful to focus on your career, it's also imperative to your mental health to work on your relationships. Allow yourself to take the occasional Friday off to spend on the couch with your partner, or take a week to hit up Cancun (or wherever) with friends. You'll be glad you did. 

6. You'll Reset Your Focus

Are you even happy at work, or do you just trudge there out of pure habit? Having some alone time can help you refocus your goals, and gain perspective. You may find that a day off gets your gears turning, and sends you in a completely opposite career direction. Or, at the very least, it may inspire you to make changes at your current job so it better fits your desires. It's worth a try!

Taking time off from work may sound like a totally impossible prospect, but it's not! You deserve a break, and probably have some vacation days racking up. So cash them in, and give yourself some much needed time off.

Images: Pexels (7)

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