This has been a difficult year for everyone. There have been a lot of challenges. It’s been stressful and tiring. And I think we could all use a break.

This is one of the biggest reasons why psychologist Art Markman suggests that taking a vacation this summer is so important. After the year that we’ve had, we need to relax. In addition, taking a vacation will make us better employees! Research has shown that when people are rested, they’re better able to bounce back from setbacks, generate creative solutions, and get work done.

But according to Markman, you need to do this right. You can’t just go swimming at a nearby lake for the day. You need to take a truly restorative vacation. Here’s what he suggests:

  • Do some planning – If possible, Markman suggests that you plan to take your vacation about three months from now. Research suggests that you’ll be more likely to commit to taking a vacation if you have some time to plan. In addition, when a vacation is taking place three months or more in the future, you can spend your time thinking about all the fun you’ll have, instead of worrying about specific details.
  • Take a week off – It can sometimes take a couple days to stop thinking and worrying about work. So you should take a week off, if possible. Give yourself the time to savor the fact that you’re truly on vacation.
  • Leave your house – “Staycations” can be fun and they’re certainly economical. But according to Markman, if you spend your vacation at home, you won’t be able to completely relax. You’ll notice the laundry that needs to be done, the dishes that need to be washed, etc. Getting away from all of that will give you the break you need.
  • Prepare your coworkers – Talk to your manager about the time that you’re planning to take off and the projects that you’re working on. Make sure that your managers and coworkers have the information they need to manage any issues that might come up while you’re away. If your coworkers are prepared, things will run smoothly in your absence, and you won’t have to worry about what you’ll be coming back to.
  • Put that phone away – When you’re on vacation, don’t read your work emails, messages, etc. Remember that you’ve given your coworkers the information they need to keep things running in your absence. So trust them to do their jobs, and stop checking your phone.

Now if it’s just not possible for you to take a week off this summer, Markman suggests using a personal day now and then. Taking one day off isn’t as restorative as taking a week off, but it can still be very beneficial. Just make sure not to spend the whole time running errands. Markman suggests using half of the day to get some tasks done (so they’re not hanging over your head) and the other half on things that make you feel rested and happy, like spending time with a friend, going for a hike, or reading a good book. Enjoy!

Markman, A. (2021, May 12). We all really need a vacation. Here’s how to make the most of it. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2021/05/we-all-really-need-a-vacation-heres-how-to-make-the-most-of-it

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