From microbreaks to vacations: The vital role of rest in our lives

Balancing work-life and home-life can be difficult. There is always an endless to-do list, deadlines fast approaching, and you are in dire need of a little R&R! Taking annual leave is a fantastic way to manage this balancing act, allowing you to recuperate and reset. But why are people so afraid to take this time off? It has been ingrained into working culture that taking annual leave and time away from your team is a negative, with 49% of the workforce claiming they are too busy to take annual leave, yet nobody is looking at the positives of taking breaks and how this can better support your team.

Whether you are looking to step away from your desk for 5 minutes or take that long over-due holiday which has been on your vision board for the longest time, the significance of taking time away from work is huge. Over a third of people are afraid to take annual leave and are in danger of the following:

  • Burnout.
  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Lack of productivity.

Extended breaks from work may be seen as an indulgence, however, they are critical to your long-term health and wellbeing. Research completed by the American Psychology Association has shown that taking extended breaks from work has been linked to lower rates of heart disease, reduced stress, improved productivity and an overall higher life satisfaction. Taking a short break away from work has similar results, with people feeling an improvement of their health and wellness.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to take an extended or short break, and unfortunately some people have very limited options. The important thing to remember here is that you must take a break! Microbreak’s are a great way to feel rejuvenated and refreshed when a longer break is not possible. You may be asking ‘Well what is a microbreak?’ and it is just that, a mini break! This can last anywhere from a few seconds to 10 minutes or so.

Microbreaks are just as important as extended breaks as they enable a process known as ‘Psychological Detachment’ which allows your brain to detach from work-related issues and ‘switch-off’ as such. Microbreaks have been proven to cause the following:

  • Boost productivity.
  • Maintain employee physical wellbeing.
  • Better work performance.
  • Improves well-being.

Long hours spent at our desks or staring at a computer screen takes a massive toll on our bodies and physical health. Taking the time to prioritise time-off allows us to practice self-care by giving our bodies a chance to rest and heal, get sufficient sleep, and focus on nutritious meals to build a stronger immune system.

However, it can be difficult to see the wood through the trees when we are building careers and striving to achieve a certain goal. We tend to, unintentionally, neglect our relationships with friends and family, and even ourselves! Taking a step back from the rat race allows us to reevaluate these goals and aspirations, reflecting on the personal growth experienced this far and increase your self-awareness. Taking that break gives us a clearer sense of purpose, both professionally and personally.

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