If you’re like most working adults, chances are you’re shortchanging yourself on vacation days. In today’s growing gig economy, many professionals have no vacation benefits.
Even if you have a traditional staff position, you may feel like your boss discourages you from using your leave time. Plus, you may be concerned about being replaced if you spend too many hours away from the office.
Yet, vacations have been proven to be beneficial to both employers and employees. Taking a break from work increases productivity and prevents burnout.
While there’s no substitute for an adequate vacation policy, you can make the time in between your getaways more pleasant and satisfying. Try these ideas for taking mini breaks at work and away from the office.
Taking Mini Breaks at Work:
- Vary your tasks. Take a fresh look at your job description. Find ways to spend more time on the responsibilities that help you to achieve a sense of flow. Maybe you can delegate the rest or at least alternate between them to break up any monotony.
- Redecorate your cubicle. A change of scenery can brighten your mood. Bring in a flowering plant that will be easy to care for. Set out pictures of your family and pets. Start a collection of miniature toys or unusual desk accessories.
- Stretch out. Stand up, and do some simple exercises about every half hour. Bend forward and reach for your toes. Raise your arms over your head and lower them down slowly to each side with your palms facing forward.
- Walk around. Ask your colleagues if they’d be interested in scheduling a walking meeting. They may like the idea of going outside for a little fresh air and exercise while you discuss business matters.
- Develop your career. Taking control of your future could help you to access more vacation time and reach other work-related goals. Assess your skills and target areas where you want to grow.
Taking Mini Breaks Away From Work:
- Shift your focus. Do you find yourself thinking about the office even when you’re at home? Make a deliberate effort to disengage. Create rituals that help you to put work behind you, like going to the gym or taking your dog for a walk when you arrive home.
- Turn off your phone. If possible, avoid taking calls or checking emails related to work. Talk with your boss about how to balance after-hour emergencies with your need for personal space.
- Work on your hobby. Studies show that active leisure is more refreshing than watching TV. Pursue your interests in wine collecting or building furniture. Visit museums and public gardens. Play sports and board games.
- Connect with others. Honor your own needs for solitude and social time. When you’re hanging out with your friends and family, use your time together to validate and support each other.
- Explore future destinations. Research shows that planning a vacation can be almost as beneficial as the actual trip. Give yourself something to look forward to by sending away for brochures or talking with others about their ideas. Build anticipation by sampling local dishes or watching foreign movies.
- Plan your day. Schedule breaks each day instead of waiting for things to slow down. Your mind and body need ongoing rest.
- Give generously. Thinking about others makes us feel less burdened. Do something to make your spouse or a stranger smile.
- Consider your purpose. Any task is more bearable when you remember the reasons behind it. Ask yourself what you like about your work.
Protect your career and take care of your health by giving yourself enough downtime to refresh and recharge. When a vacation is out of the question, treat yourself to some rest and relaxation wherever you find yourself.