Using Holiday Breaks to Your Advantage

“Vacations are important because they not only replenish the mind, they also reduce the physical effects of stress on the body,”

– Kathleen Potempa, University of Michigan School of Nursing Professor.

As the holiday season approaches, so does, for most of the American populace, mandated time off work. This is a vital time to unplug from work and spend time with loved ones. Studies show that general time off and even paid time off is ultimately beneficial for business, stating that over 90% of surveyed businesses with paid time off reported positive or no noticeable change in overall productivity. But how can you maximize your time off without over-complicating and stressing about it?

It’s important first to understand that these times should be used to unplug from work and mentally relax as much as possible. This may mean detaching from phone and email, or at least designating work communication to certain brief times of the day. Allowing distance from business can translate to a refreshed mental state and general energy replenishment. Having this state of mind can allow a better opportunity for creativity, and possibly spark new ideas that you would not have otherwise. And though the goal is to detach briefly from work, these new inspirations may help you in business further down the road.

Having this time off also allows one to focus on other things. For some, this may be a new skill or area of study. Unburdened with day to day business responsibility, you may feel more comfortable refining a skill not totally essential to your career, or even trying out something completely new. Having new experiences in this ‘vacation’ headspace takes yourself outside of the normal mental patterns and helps refresh the body and mind.

The physical refreshment that comes along with vacation, whether it be additional sleep, more time to exercise, or even less movement all together, is important, but the psychological effects of vacation are just as or possibly more crucial. It’s for this reason, as contradictory as it sounds, that it is fine to not worry about checking any boxes during break, even if they are boxes focused on relaxation. Detach from a business mindset, relax, try new things, enjoy time with friends and family, and ultimately your work will be all the better for it.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization