Yes, you have a break either after school or if you’re in-between positions that just so happens to be between May and August. It may feel like you’re wasting time (a sin!) when you feel like you should be researching and prepping for the next step in your career search. But maybe…. Just maybe, you might need this break. We break down a few reasons why you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if you want to take a few weeks to relax by a body of water in 90-degree weather with a drink or two.
1. You Need to Take a Break for Mental Health
Yes, it may feel like there’s more work to be done but… there’s always work to be done. Americans have fewer vacation days than the rest of the world, and even still, we take fewer vacations than we did 15 years ago. And even when we do take a vacation, 41 percent are still checking work emails and answering quick check-ins. But if you’re never taking that mental break, you’re never really letting go.
Your mental health should always be at the forefront but due to our American culture of “staying on top of it,” we feel like we can never truly let go. It’s okay to check an email or two but if you find yourself updating your resume for two hours poolside, it might be time to turn off the WiFi. Chronic stress takes its toll in part on our body's ability to resist infections, maintain vital functions, and avoid injuries. When you’re stressed, you’re also more likely to become irritable, depressed, and anxious with a terrible memory and making poor decisions—how can that help if your job search if you’re constantly working? Vacations help break that cycle. We must decide to manage our time before, during, and after vacations so we can come back with a clear mind, ready to take on the tasks we left behind.
2. Boost Creativity and Productivity
Once you’re able to detach, you’re able to see the world a bit differently. If you’re not able to break away from all your daily activities, you start to develop symptoms of burnout. Sabine Sonnentag, professor of organizational psychology at the University of Mannheim in Germany, found that if you’re able to disengage from work while you’re not at work, that makes you more resilient to stress factors and you become engaged at work.
And it’s not just being able to pump out more work for your career transition. You’ll be able to create better, more creative work. This means thinking of new people to connect with and new ideas of fulfilling work to explore. Research has shown that new and different experiences actually boost your creativity. Doing nothing and daydreaming actually creates alpha brain waves that are key to creative insights and innovative breakthroughs, as well as positives emotions. That means that even after you return from a vacation, you’ll be excited with all the thoughts and new ideas that have been brewing, and likely more ready to take on important tasks.
3. Your Body Needs It
Maybe being creative isn’t necessarily on your to-do but it’s not just your mind that needs the break. Your body craves a vacation. Stress doesn’t just affect your brain, but your body as well. A small study from the University of Vienna found that after taking time off from work, vacationers had fewer stress-related physical complaints such as headaches, backaches, and heart irregularities, and they still felt better up to five weeks later. Even missing one year's vacation was associated with a higher risk of heart disease for both men and women. And yes, there are the long-term ramifications but what about the one thing that affects your life every day? Sleep!
When our brain never stops going through to-do lists and tasks, we can never get a true break. A lack of sleep leads to less focus, less alertness, impaired memory, an increased likelihood of accidents, and a decreased quality of life.
If you haven’t taken some time off this year, make sure you take a break during the summer months. It doesn’t have to be a big trip around the world but even a creative staycation to decompress and relax is sure to work wonders for your health and creativity. And don't worry -- a majority of professionals are thinking about or taking their vacation during the first two weeks of August, so you're not likely to miss much. While you rest up, you can gain the creativity and productivity you’ll need to find your next great role.
Are You Ready to Find Your Best Fit?
ArcVida programs are designed to help you find the best fit for your career trajectory. Set up a free strategy call to find the best jobs for you and where to get started. After your initial call, we’ll be able to recommend a program that will best suit your career goals, and help you get there. But only after you tell us how your vacation was.
Published on 8/10/2021