According to a recent survey released by the American Psychological Association, vacation isn’t as regenerative as it should be for many people in the U.S.
One-fifth of the respondents feel tense or stressed while away and 28 percent of them work more than they planned to during their trips. Plus, the post-vacation benefits were fleeting: For most, they disappeared within a few days of returning to work.
The whole point of taking time off is to relax, unwind, and return to the office feeling refreshed. But it’s more difficult to do so if you (like more than half of the survey respondents) feel that your workplace doesn’t encourage you to use vacation days, says David Ballard, Psy.D., the assistant executive director for the APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence in Washington, D.C.
Before you leave, make note of which tasks need to be covered (and who can take them over) and which can wait until you get back, he says, and make it clear how reachable you’ll be. On the trip, stick to your word: If you told everyone you’d check email once each morning, don’t feel the need to go online again in the afternoon. When you return, consider working from home for one day to help you catch up and ease back into your full schedule.
THE BOTTOM LINE
R&R is important for your mental state and your work performance, Ballard says, so it’s important to truly separate yourself from your responsibilities when you’re explicitly setting aside time to relax.
Photo: Sarah Lauren Holt/thelicensingproject.com