Even as Americans discuss the advantages of the four-day work-week, thanks to Representative Mark Takano, D-Calif., who introduced legislation which, if it passes, would reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours instead of 40, we’re also working more hours than ever.
The Guardian reports that compared with other countries, the American workplace record is not good. “In 2021, American employees worked 184 more hours than Japanese workers, 294 more hours than British workers, and 442 more hours than German workers. Unbelievably, in 2023 there are millions of Americans who work at jobs with no vacation time” (The Guardian).
If you’re fortunate enough to have vacation time available to you, it is a very healthy idea to use it! There are key benefits to taking a vacation, even if it is a mini-vacation, like taking advantage of a long, holiday weekend. Here’s how even a little time away from your regular work routine can help. . .
- Even a brief vacation can improve your physical health by reducing stress and inviting a change of scenery – especially if it gets you outdoors!
- Neuroscientists report that chronic exposure to stress can bring on both anxiety and depression – even a mini-vacation can break that pattern and allow your mind and emotions to heal, away from the daily work pressures.
- Wellbeing improves – Gallup reports that scores on their Well-Being Index are nearly 15 points higher among workers who report that they, “always make time for regular trips” than those who travel infrequently (Gallup).
- Especially for those who work in human services, getting away (even briefly) helps manage burnout with the Oxygen Mask Rule: Secure your mask before assisting others! Even a mini-vacation can do that!
- Boost your happiness, just the planning for a trip can elevate your mood and you get the benefits of this boost weeks before you ever take the trip.
- Traveling with others can bolster relationships, allowing time for important conversations and helping friends and family bond when away from the every-day routines of life.
Whatever your personal situation, Taking Advantage of a Long, Holiday Weekend can be an important way to shake things up, acknowledge your need for time away and invest in the many benefits that time away can offer. Your wellbeing may depend on your commitment to this kind of self-care!
Each of us needs to assess our capacity to work hard and relax well – we need both in our lives to feel successful and balanced. As we enjoy the remaining hours of this long, holiday weekend, I trust you’ve been able to relax, let go of some of the stress you routinely encounter and feel the refreshment that time off, and time away can offer you!