• Lauren Baptiste

Recharge from Burnout with Vacation | Acheloa Wellness

Did you know that last year, 705,000,000 paid vacation days went unused?

These days, employees are working harder and longer than ever. Adding insult to injury, these employees are not using their paid-vacation days because they can’t find the time to take them or they're feeling the guilt and other stigma associated with taking time off.

If that number seems high, let's start here: how many of your vacation days went to waste?

Work and stress continue to surmount with no end in sight, but that doesn't mean you should forgo your personal rejuvenation time. It's not just good for you; it's good for your organization.

Why employers give paid-time off

Whether you travel to a distant land or use your time to re-organize your life, you’re entitled to time off. It's generally part of your compensation package, and for good reason. Companies intentionally grant employees vacation time to prevent employee burnout. Good organizations don’t want to lose hard workers; therefore, they incentivize their people with time. After all, time is the most precious gift one can receive.

Since time is incredibly valuable, I try not to waste a minute or a dime for that matter. Below are tips to make your next vacation day one that you can make the most of.

200 million paid vacation days will not be used this year.

Work from home

When working at my “9-5” job, I realized I was expected to work light nights and weekends from my laptop. If I was expected to log in at any given minute when I was needed, why couldn’t I then work from home, too?

Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for all jobs, but it is for many. Instead of losing a day off to go to the doctor’s office or wait for a new mattress to be delivered, ask your boss if you can work remotely.

Even if you’re able to negotiate 1 day per month, that’s an extra 12 days where you can you can work and still manage to get your life in order.

Plan as much as you can in advance

When I’m on vacation, I intend to be on vacation. I turn off my phone and make an extra effort to appreciate my surroundings (after all, work will still be there when I get back!).

In order to make the most of my vacation, I plan most of the “big stuff” ahead of time (i.e., flights, trains, hotels, excursions). I still leave time for spontaneity, but at least I know where I’m sleeping or next city I’m heading to the next day.

Communicate with colleagues in advance

Albeit annoying or sometimes uncomfortable to discuss with workaholic colleagues, this one is big and maybe the most important. Before leaving for your big getaway, you want to make sure you have coverage. Be sure to clearly communicate when you’ll be off and when you’ll be back in the office.

If you’re expected to check your email, let them know that you’ll only be able to look at it during certain times of the day. After all, if you don’t actually disconnect, what’s the point of using your vacation time?

As valuable as you are as an employee, we’re all replaceable. The weight of the world isn’t on your shoulders, but what may help you feel better is to transfer all your files to a co-worker who can cover for you.

Given the fast-paced lives that we live, it’s not easy to disconnect, but it’s imperative that you turn-off from the madness once in a while. I challenge each of you to disconnect, even if only for a few hours or days. After a few days of completely disconnecting, I guarantee that you’ll feel your stress levels decrease.

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