Vacations are good for you and your work. How to actually rest during vacation.
In this article I will touch upon the importance of vacation (based on scientific findings) and share what steps to take to be well-rested and happier after vacation. Oftentimes, we encounter many obstacles standing in the way of relaxation even during summer holidays. So make sure that your work-related worries won’t hinder your vacation. In a nutshell, why you should go on a vacation, what to do to actually rest and get the most out of this time. Enjoy ?!
Why you should go on a vacation
How vacations can improve your wellbeing
Vacation is a great time to replenish your resources. At work we are usually under some stress or strain. There can be loads of pressure. Exhaustion may occur as well both in psychological and physical ways. Working full time, you are liable to get into a tiring routine and find yourself unsatisfied with life in general, although you may not know the reason behind it. Without new experiences we can feel bored and become resistant to changes. Whereas traveling can change that. During vacation you can recover from stress (Fritz, Sonnentag, 2006), boost your mood (Strauss-Blasche, Ekmekcioglu, Marktl, 2000) and increase your life satisfaction (De Bloom, Kompier, Geurts, De Weerth, Taris, Sonnentag, 2008). Sometimes suffering from work overload or chronic stress can be manifested in physical symptoms (sleep disturbance, headaches), but scientific findings tell us that even they can go away after vacation (De Bloom, Kompier, Geurts, De Weerth, Taris, Sonnentag, 2008). What is more, after vacation, you will find yourself more creative and eager to learn more and faster (your motivation will be inflated).
How vacation boosts your work
First of all, vacation can be your or your employees’ burnout antidote. Detachment from work and work-related stress contributes to their wellbeing and helps to approach the same problems differently. They can address their problems more effectively, resulting from increased self-efficacy and life-satisfaction. Secondly, after vacation, workers are found to perform better (Miyakawa, Kawakubo, Oguchi, 2019) and with greater ease in a workplace. Paired with increased skill-acquisition capacities and creativity after vacation it is easier for you to learn and grow. Lastly, along with vacation comes greater job satisfaction (it can amazingly affect the employee retention rate) and improved workplace relationships.
don’t get too excited just yet. Before going on a vacation and during your relaxation time, you should take some steps to ensure that this time will be spent according to your needs and expectations.
Get the most out of your vacation
What to do before going on a vacation
⭐ If you can, finish all the tasks of the highest importance and urgency before going on vacation – you don’t want to find yourself lying on the beach and thinking about what else should be done.
⭐ If you cannot finish them, leave them in good hands. Take effort in explaining the tasks and desirable outcomes in order to free yourself temporarily from the matter. Make sure everything is clear and then double-check before your departure. Leave necessary materials to guide someone effectively through the process. Don’t do it all on the last day – this way you can’t be sure that everything was understood. Start your preparations for great, relaxing vacation at least one week before departure.
⭐ If there isn’t anyone to take over from you, maybe the task simply needs to be postponed. Your health and wellbeing are number one priority. Do not put too much pressure on yourself. Oftentimes finishing tasks a week or two later makes such a huge difference only in your mind. In reality it’s just a couple of days that are probably filled with many other activities for your workmates and clients. If the matter can wait, make sure everyone is on page with rescheduled delivery time and that it will be respected. Try to think of the consequences of putting off this assignment, but this time not in a catastrophic manner. Take a realistic look at what moving the date would cause. If it is possible to upset someone or hinder his work – talk to him instead of making assumptions about his reaction. Maybe he would also profit from postponing this task, maybe it’s not as urgent as it may seem to be and maybe it is you who put all the pressure on meeting the deadline.
⭐ Log out from work-related portals, services. (Do it in any case whether you love your job or not; it will enable you to truly relax, think about your needs and worry less).
⭐ Leave an email autoresponder to inform your colleagues and clients (they shouldn’t be left waiting unnecessarily for the response).
⭐ Leave your number, but only for serious emergencies.
Last but not least, think about the activities that will be relaxing and enjoyable for you. Don’t just pick a random summer vacation offer and don’t spend your whole holiday the way that pleases someone else. In family or among friends there are certainly going to be some compromises, but make sure that you will get some time to do what you love.
What to do to actually rest
Try to start with something not too demanding. It is the time to rebuild your resources, go easy on yourself. Vacation isn’t about competition on how much you do or see and how many thrilling things you have accomplished. Rather, it’s about making yourself well-rested and happier. What makes you happier is an individual question and maybe you still haven’t quite figured that out so give yourself time to contemplate on that matter.
Add something new
After the simple relaxation period, when you feel calmer and lighter, that is the perfect time for something new that will give you a fresh perspective. Maybe new activities like taking up a new sport, dance classes, cooking some exotic dishes or change of place and visiting beautiful sites. Maybe both, but it’s important to try new things from time to time and there couldn’t be a better occasion than summer vacation. Why is it important? Not only is it a creativity booster, but also it helps us grow in many ways. While gaining new experience we are likely to become more open toward people and ourselves. We can reinforce our cognitive flexibility. We can discover new passions that will stay with us for longer and will make us happy. We can see clearer what mistakes we have been continuously making. We can discover solutions to our problems. We can get to know ourselves and our friends better.
Before you come back
Before you go back to work, take one more day off and think about all those good memories. Appreciate them and if you feel like it, write those appreciations down so they can accompany you throughout the following weeks. Use this day to unpack and maybe develop some photos if you have already picked your favourite ones. Relax and calmly prepare for the next day’s work.
Hope you do go on a vacation soon ? and come back as rested and happy as possible ?