It’s that time again! You guessed it, it’s time to talk about stress. Why now? Two reasons: One, on Sunday, April 16th, the nation celebrated (or most likely completely forgot about) National Stress Awareness Day! To be fair, that Sunday was also Easter so I understand why most people might have forgotten. And two, it seems there are a lot of myths around taking a vacation, giving the action itself a bad rap. Assumptions are brewing that taking a vacation means that you’re lazy, or you are not as dedicated to the job. Other reasons I’ve heard from people in regards to taking time off are “I don’t have the time,” or “I can’t afford it.”
Yes, you do and yes you can. And you should because the outcome of taking a vacation is overwhelmingly positive and, not only boosts your immunity and reduces stress, but it also increases your production, which in turn, brings in more income. Are you busy right now, right this second? If not, I want you to take a moment and seriously consider what taking a vacation can do for you.
Gives your entire system a reboot
What do you think of when you look at the image above? I know what I think of– tropical paradise, getting away to some ocean resort to relax on a sandy beach with a drink in my hand and the sun in my hair. It’s okay if this isn’t your idea of a relaxing vacation, but I just want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself outside of work, doing what you want in whatever place tickles your fancy. Your brain and body need a break from the intense and busy workday you’re so used to. Taking a real vacation without the laptop and phone set to “do not disturb” recharges and revitalizes your entire system. If you think of your system like a computer, you need to shut down every once in awhile so you don’t short circuit. Burnout is all too common in a fast-paced high-stress career like yours. A vacation isn’t so much a want, but a need.
Boosts your immune system
Stress has some significantly negative effects and the list is long, but one big one that can take a toll on your body and your income is illness. If you haven’t taken a vacation in a long time and you notice you’ve been frequently under the weather but you simply ignore it and attempt to power through, you’re doing a lot more harm than good. Illness is our body’s way of saying, “stop what you’re doing! I need a break!” Your immune system has weakened under all the pressure and building stress. Think of it like Jenga. Do you remember that game? If you don’t and you’re not entirely sure what I’m talking about, I’ll explain. Jenga is a game in which you create a tower with blocks. But each person who takes a turn has to take a block from the bottom or middle and put it on top. There is only so much of this you can do before the foundation becomes so weak that the tower falls. So each time you ignore your body screaming for a break, you are playing Jenga with your immune system. The tower will eventually fall, it’s just a matter of when.
Taking a vacation is the remedy for constant illness as it will increase immunity support and allow your body to function more effectively. Trust me, that vacation you keep putting off will help you miss a lot fewer days in the future.
Increase in productivity
It’s all about the money, right? And if the money is the reason you’re afraid to take a break, let me assure you now that taking a vacation will not hurt your income but will probably help it. Why? Because by sticking around when you so clearly need to take a vacation can result in making decisions that are not so sound or as beneficial to your practice as you might want. Being stressed and tired and in need of a vacation also might cause you to make questionable health care decisions.
Putting yourself first means you are dedicated to making the best decisions for your practice and your patients. So take a vacation. Taking a long vacation whether it’s an entire two weeks at home or on a beach in Hawaii means a reenergized return to the office, “feeling refreshed, revitalized and ready to tackle anything that is thrown at you.” Benefits of taking a vacation include increased production, a significant improvement to your health, and higher morale, all important factors to maintaining a successful practice.
Since this particular post is about taking a vacation, I won’t detour too much, but alongside those vacations, it is imperative for your own health and well-being to take the recommended breaks throughout the day as well. Stepping away from your desk to enjoy a walk outside or simply getting lost in your Facebook feed will significantly benefit you and your practice. That being said, skipping lunch or eating while working is also a big time no-no for reducing stress. Stress is the monster and by doing these things, you are feeding it the fuel it needs to take you down. Don’t give it what it wants, starve it by eating healthy, drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day, taking breaks from your desk, and enjoying a much-needed vacation once in awhile.
If you’re unsure whether you are in need of a vacation and need to start packing, why not take our fun little quiz below and find out. Answer honestly and, if you would be so inclined, please share your results with us in the comments section below.