Coming up on the long Labor Day weekend, we’re thinking about the importance of taking time to rest, relax and recover from the movement and routine of our everyday lives. Taking time off is such a simple notion, yet the majority of American workers don’t utilize their vacation time. Less than a quarter (23 percent) of employees are using their full vacation days, Forbes author Kate Ashford tells us, and the average worker is using just 54 percent of their PTO days given!
As Ashford notes, people don’t take more time off of work because they are afraid to. They feel guilty about taking time away from their company and the strain it would put on their colleagues. Also, they’re nervous about being laid off, so they don’t want to become less valuable to a company or lose the monetary value of their PTO in the unfortunate event of being laid off.
Despite the fears of taking time away from work, surveys and studies have shown the potential benefits of taking vacations — read this article on Inc. for a solid list of reasons.
Taking a vacation doesn’t necessarily require taking off for weeks at a time. You can recharge yourself with a short getaway, or even still, just by taking an extra day for yourself.
These mini-vacations can be a great way to take just a beat to catch up on rest, recharge yourself, and refocus before heading back to work. You might stay home and treat yourself to sleeping in, or you might trek out to the beach for some sunshine and cool breeze to clear your mind.
Not sure where to start? Here are seven ideas for taking a short mini-vacation from work:
- Invigorate your senses and fitness with an outdoor activity like hiking, biking or a camping outing.
- Refresh your spirit with fresh air and green space. Take a picnic in the backyard or a local park, or take a leisurely drive to a zoo, garden or body of water.
- Re-spark your relationships! Have a lunch date with a friend or family member you don’t get to see enough of normally.
- Kick back with an entertainment retreat — minus the trip to the movie theatre. Stock up on popcorn, snacks and your fave flicks, bundle yourself up with candles and blankets, and draw the curtains down for a therapeutic at-home movie day.
- Nourish and treat yourself to food. Take a cooking class to be social and learn new skills, or clear the kitchen for a day of home-cooking meals with leftovers for days to spare, or treat yourself to a fancy meal at that new restaurant you’ve had on your list for weeks.
- Connect with your community. Take the day to bike or walk around your neighborhood and get your feet on the ground right where you live. We often don’t get to spend enough time in our own neighborhoods since we’re always on the go, fighting traffic, and moving from one errand to the next.
- Jumpstart your reading collection. Go to your local library and walk around, and really take time there to discover new books, new authors, or new genres that you’re typically too busy to have the time to explore. Bring home some new books (not too many or you can get overwhelmed!) to read today and for the weeks ahead, making time at night and on your lunch breaks to sneak in some relaxing reading time.
Whatever your plans for a short break from work, whether it’s a long weekend or a day off in the middle of the work week, remember to focus on yourself. Do something for yourself that allows you to relax and unwind — and also hit the reset button and revitalize.