Vacation: Use it before you lose it!
We all know the business of advertising, the industry we live for, can be stressful. I suppose you could say I’m preaching to the choir here, so all of you in agreement say “Amen”. The pressures that are inherent to our field of work such as being challenged to come up with multiple big creative ideas on short notice and presenting them, making tight deadlines on shoestring budgets, performing miracles and making it look easy, the endless pursuit of new business and, of course, hearing “do your timesheets” every day will eventually take its toll on everybody. So man created vacation.
Vacations can take on different forms. Most people associate vacation with traveling and relaxing, while others will take a staycation to stay home, make day trips close to home or take care of personal projects. What is important to all forms of vacation is to take a break from work, get away from the office, de-stress and give your mind time to reset. According to research conducted by Dr. Robert Riegert of Aurora Health Care, if you view vacations as just an option, you are rather typical; the average American employee takes only half of her or his eligible vacation time. This is a trend that more Americans need to change.
Well-Planned vacations are Beneficial for Your Health
A good vacation can improve both your physical and mental health.
1. Reduce your stress.
A number of scientific studies have found when you’re removed from stresses at work, your stress and anxiety levels can drop. Stress reduction can reduce stress-related complaints such as headaches, and muscle aches such as back pain. It can also be a factor in resolving heart irregularities, which brings me to my next point.
2. Boost your heart health.
A study of men at risk for heart disease learned that those who skipped vacations for several years were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who took at least a week off every year.
Another study compared women who took at least two vacations a year to women who only took one vacation every several years. The women who took fewer vacations were about eight times more likely to develop heart disease, have a heart attack or die of a coronary related problem.
3. Reduce depression.
A study found that leisure activities, including vacations, helped enhance people’s positive emotions and reduce depression.
4. Improve your sleep.
You may have experienced sleeplessness when you’re worried about something at work. You may work late into the evening or check your email before bed. These habits can hurt your sleep cycles leaving you less alert and focused. Sleep deprivation can also impair your memory. A good vacation can short-circuit these bad work-related sleep habits and get you back to sleeping better.
On a personal note, I recently received a great deal of satisfaction from taking a full week off and attacking a list of twelve projects that had been on my to-do list, some for almost a year. A lot of the projects I enjoyed doing myself, others I oversaw the work being performed. By the end of the week, I felt great for getting everything done that I had on my list. Between projects I did squeeze in time to rest and have dinner with friends, hang with my dogs and see a movie or two with my spouse. Although I was very busy, I made it a point to not think (or worry) about work. I will say after that week, I’m certain that my next vacation will be one where I really relax.
At Texas Creative, we urge our staff to take all the vacation time they are eligible for and to “use it before you lose it.” This statement has two meanings. The first being, according to our handbook, if you don’t use your vacation in the calendar year you’ll lose it because it does not roll over to the next year. The second meaning is that we want our staff to use their vacation so they don’t lose it… and what I mean by that is to not lose their sanity or worse yet, their love of the work.