The other day I spoke to a friend who told me she hadn't taken a vacation for over three years, and she felt completely burnt out. When I asked her why she'd gone so long without a break, she said she'd been super busy and never seemed to be able to fit it in. She also explained that in the office where she works, there's a sort of silent discouragement when it comes to taking time off. This made me a little sad and really got me thinking how many people are living that same scenario.
I've learned through my own experience that when it comes to things like rest, travel or anything else we long for, if we're not making the time, we're making excuses. In our culture here in America, there is a certain pressure overall not to take much time off. A sort of "vacation shaming" exists that is counterproductive on so many levels. We do it to others, to ourselves and we even do it to the President of the United States every time he picks up a golf club.
We must let go of this old-school idea that taking time off somehow decreases productivity or implies someone is not fully dedicated to his or her work. It's quite the opposite. Taking ample time to rest our body, mind and spirit increases productivity, amplifies creativity, and even elevates the quality of our work. It's time to ditch out-dated mindsets and embrace balance and flexibility.
I believe a company filled with a bunch of burnt out, low-energy people who rarely take time off makes less money in the long run than if they were to give each of those employees several weeks a year of vacation time and make it mandatory they take it. Happy people make fantastic employees. Some successful companies know this, and they make ample vacation time and other soulful perks available for their staff. Both Netflix and Richard Branson's Virgin Group successfully offer unlimited vacation time to staff.
When our soul needs rest, we can feel the call. If we ignore that call for too long, we can burn out, lose our mojo, become physically ill or even drive ourselves into emotional bankruptcy.
If you haven't had a vacation since you took a few days off three years ago to attend your cousin's wedding, you absolutely need a break now. If you haven't taken more than a week off in over a year because you've been "too busy," your schedule is too full to live fully. Really, it doesn't matter how long it's been. It doesn't even matter if you went to Hawaii for 10 days last month. If you're feeling like you need a break, you need one, and you'll be a sharper, more fulfilled, healthier version of yourself for taking it.
Here's the thing. You don't just owe this to yourself. You owe it to those you love. To those you work with. You owe it to the world. Because if you're rested, happy, and well, you can show up as your most incredible, dynamic, energetic self for everyone and everything in your life.
Allow yourself space in your life for vacations and down time. Take it without apology. Live. Make this a priority and your life will reach new levels of joy, peace, and success. The busyness can wait.