While the boundaries between work and life are more blurry than ever, many are realizing that their busiest days are still disguised as ‘leisure time’ just because they’re working from the comfort of their homes. This new work-life balance - or for many lack there of - is causing some employees to be hesitant to cash in on their well-earned vacation days.
Jen Hartstein, Yahoo Life Mental Health Contributor, shares ways why taking time off is more vital than ever.
“We're at this very weird time where work and life are blending all the time. And for many we feel like it's not the right time to take time off,” she explains. “Maybe we aren't going anywhere, so we kind of figure, ‘why bother’?”
“While our work has been a little bit more flexible, we might actually feel guilty asking,” she says. “We might feel like maybe we don't deserve it, or maybe we're not owed it, and yet most of us may not realize that we’re probably working more than ever.”
JEN HARTSTEIN: At a time when many of us have shifted to working from home, it's hard to know how to take time off. Maybe we aren't going anywhere, we're not traveling, so we kind of figure, well, why bother. And yet it's really important for us to create some space and really use those vacation days because the more space we create, the better and more rejuvenated we come back to the office and to work.
We're in this space right now where, for many of us, our boundaries are very blurred. While we're working from home or while our work has been a little bit more flexible, we might actually feel guilty asking. We might feel like, maybe we don't deserve it or maybe we're not owed it. And yet we're still working harder than ever. For most of us, we're probably even working more.
One of the drawbacks to working from home is we lose some of that free time we've had. Our commute time to get our head in the game for the office. Can you create some of that makeshift commute in a way that feels meaningful to you? If I am taking the subway and I'm listening to a podcast or listening to a book, then maybe I do kind of sit and allow myself that time, and then jump into the work day.
Schedule breaks during the day like you would in the office. We don't have that as much. We don't have someone popping in and talking to us. We're not walking to the watercooler. We're not doing the same kinds of things. So we are working more consistently and we are working harder.
So create some structure in your day to build that in. We are allowed that and we need it in order to be more efficient. There are a lot of benefits to taking time off, some that we don't even realize. And while we kind of hold onto those when we get on a plane and go to a beach, we can create some of those while we're still home. We have to really think outside the box and be creative.
You can create vacation time at home where everybody puts their devices down and create some connection. Are there other families maybe you can do some stuff with where you kind of go from house to house and you can create different activities at each house. That's something you guys can maybe do and may be some fun.
So a lot of travel sites are creating interactive ways to learn about different countries online as are museums around the world. So there's lots of ways to get the culture and the experience even though you can't go there, just takes a little creativity and a little time on the computer. And you can really learn and figure out how to create something fun even though you can't physically go to the places you may want to be.
It's summer for many of us, a time when most of us take vacation, and yet we're not because it's such a weird time. Finding that time for yourself does allow you to come back to work as a better and more effective worker without the resentment you might have if you don't take that time. Recognize that you're working hard, that also means you get to relax hard.