A very important pre-requisite for proper health and wellness levels is adequate rest and relaxation of the body and mind. Or, in one word, vacations. Taking a break from the everyday routine of our stressful lives is essential every now and then so that we can come back rejuvenated and recharged. However, you will be surprised to know how few of us actually take these necessary breaks. A government survey report published in 2016 had found that less than 2% of Indian households surveyed had reported spending an overnight away from home within that year for leisure purposes. While people might believe that it is important to take vacations, only a small proportion of them seem to be putting the belief into action.
Last year, Expedia sponsored a study covering over 15,000 participants across 30 countries to study their vacation habits. The results of this study threw up India as the 5th most vacation-deprived country in the world – 55% Indians don’t use all their vacation days at work, and 28% don’t take leave either because work schedules are too hectic or there is nobody at work to cover for their absence. 16% Indians admitted to not having taken leave in over a year. In fact, when it comes to the feeling of being vacation-deprived, Indians ranked as number 1!
Reasons for not taking vacations range across the following:
- Saving vacation days in case something comes up in future
- Wish to carry them over to the next year for a longer vacation
- Work schedule does not allow/not enough staff to cover for me
- Lack of money/can not afford a holiday
- Difficult to coordinate schedules with spouse/family
- Will encash my unused vacation days
- Personal schedule doesn’t allow for vacation
- Taking all my vacation days might be seen negatively at work/by colleagues
- I’m afraid important work decisions will be taken without me
The problem isn’t just that we don’t take vacations. Apparently, even when we do take off, we cannot cut off. The study reports that during a one-week vacation, 37% Indians would check their work email/voicemail more than once a day. 21% would do it once a day. This, despite the fact that 33% of the same Indians also report that they feel more stressed when they check in on work while on vacation. We really need to get our stuff together!
My take? We should get over our insecurities and FOMO (taking a vacation will be seen as negative, important decisions will be taken without me). What’s the point of carrying over leave for the next year for a “longer holiday” if you can’t even manage a week off now? And what’s the point of encashing leave if you’ll just use the cash to pay hospital bills. No vacation = stress overload = ill health right?
A healthy work-life balance is essential if we are to do full justice to all aspects of our lives. Take a vacation so that you can come back relaxed, rejuvenated and fully charged to give your best again to your work. Your professional and personal lives will both show the positive effect of the break.
If you need ideas for where to go, I know a few travel blogs and sites I can recommend 😛
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