Lesson 6: Take vacations from work

We all need a break every now and then.  Use your vacation time.  It is given to you for a reason, and it is a good reason.  One of the worst mistakes you can make, and I know that I made, is to allow too much stress to build up without knowing when and how to take a break and decompress.  Work ethic is great and commitment to your career is fantastic.  It stops being so amazing when it is allowed to consume your life and negatively impact your relationships.  

This is one of those times where being selfish can benefit not just yourself, but others as well.  Taking time to disconnect from the everyday grind is not just important, it is essential.  I haven’t done this correctly in years and even then, it was only because I was invited on trips, not typically resulting from my own initiative.  You are not so tough or so strong that you are exempt for the hardships in life.  Some people may be able to go longer, be eventually, everyone succumbs.  

The mind and body, like most things in life, need time to rest and recover.  The weekends are good.  The holidays are even better.  Neither of these is anywhere near the same as taking an extended period of time to do something, anything, that is not related to your work.  Even if you absolutely love what you do, an extended break allows for multiple things to take place. 

Just because you don’t think so or just because you don’t notice, doesn’t mean it is not happening to you.  Believe me when I say that just because you don’t notice, and no matter how much you think or feel you are exempt from this, other people are noticing.  Friends and family see what is happening.  The more that people are around you, the easier burn-out is to spot.  This is especially true when it comes to significant others.

It is important to do whatever you can to create separation between your personal life and your work life.  I will talk more about this specific concept later, but it ties into taking time away from work.  You need diversity in your life.  Exposure to some new experiences.  More uninterrupted time for your mind and body to properly rest and recover.  A chance to get excited about doing something fun and exciting.  Even if it is just sitting around the house and catching up on books or shows.  

Like any machine, the body and mind need time to rest to prevent early wear down from actually causing damage.  It also makes you a more pleasant person to be around.  Trust me.  The anger and frustrations can only be bottled up for so long before they start to spill out.  Inevitably, your relationships will start to suffer for it.  It won’t just improve your relationships.  A decent vacation is also a great way to regain your focus and make you better and more effective at your work.  You have to learn and understand what your limitations are and act accordingly.

Another thing you can do is keep an open dialogue with your significant other about work stress and what you think you can handle.  If you live with your significant other it is even easier to get help with stress management or seeing the signs of burn-out.  If anyone is going to notice the differences, it will be the person most likely impacted by it.  You may or may not notice what is going on, but there is a good chance that there is a change in behavior and it will most likely be negatively impacting your loved ones.  Ask for help and take a vacation every now and then.

Takeaways

  1. Find new experiences
  2. Know your limitations
  3. Take breaks
  4. Travel to new places
  5. It is ok to ask for help

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