Did you know a 2023 survey found less than half of all American workers use all their vacation days? Compared to many European countries, the United States already gives employees much less vacation time, so knowing that some people aren’t using all the PTO they’re given is quite shocking. Whether you spend time off at home or go somewhere fun, using all your vacation time is crucial for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Let’s take a look at why unplugging for mental health is essential.
Why Unplugging for Mental Health Matters
Completely unplugging from work is incredibly important for your overall health. Today, many of us are constantly connected to our workplace. Thanks to our phones, we’re always just a call or message away for our bosses and coworkers. This is precisely why unplugging for mental health is so important.
Here are some of the benefits of a mental health vacation:
- De-stress: When you unplug and disconnect from work, you allow your mind and body to rest and recharge. Some research has found that even a short break from work can help reduce overall stress up to a month after the vacation.
- Better sleep: Being on a truly relaxing vacation usually means better sleep. And getting a good night’s rest has been shown to improve our physical and mental well-being.
- Improved productivity: It might seem counterintuitive that taking time off would make you a better employee, but that’s entirely true! Employees who don’t use their time off are at a higher risk of burnout and making mistakes. On the other hand, those who take breaks allow themselves to refresh and come back ready to tackle work with energy and motivation.
5 Tips on How to Take a Vacation for Your Mental Health
Booking the time off work is the first step. But if you book your days off and spend them answering emails and worrying about work, it doesn’t count as a mental health break. So, to truly make the most of your vacation for your mental well-being, make sure to follow these five tips:
Disconnect From Your Work Devices
Taking a complete break from your digital devices during your vacation reduces stress and enhances relaxation. Delete your work email and any work-related messaging apps (such as Slack, Microsoft Teams chat, etc.) from your phone so you’re not tempted to check in on work.
If you know you’ll worry about work and your projects, set your team up to be fully prepared for your vacation. Give them all the tools they need to handle any emergencies that may come up. And assign a person to be the point of contact if your team does encounter a problem and needs support. This way, you’re not dealing with any emergency calls while on vacation and you get to rest knowing work is perfectly fine without you.
They say anxiety is all about worrying about the future and depression is all about worrying about the past. And that’s exactly why being fully present in the moment is crucial for happiness. You have so little time off in a year, so when you take it, it’s important to embrace being in that moment fully.
Embrace mindfulness during your vacation and make every day as fun or relaxing as possible. Engage in activities and immerse yourself in the vacation experience. Make this time off everything you want it to be!
Reduce Information Overload
Consider that your vacation should be a break not just from work stress but from all types of stress. Taking a break from constant news updates and social media can be very helpful in alleviating information overload and improving mental well-being. So, embrace reducing negative stimuli and remove news and social media apps from your phone while on holiday.
Enhance Connections With Loved Ones
We can all get so caught up in the day-to-day routine that it often feels like we’re working on autopilot. We might have conversations with our loved ones, but we often aren’t spending quality time with them as we try to balance work, chores, activities and appointments.
Look at your vacation as an opportunity to unplug from the world and “plug in” with your partner, family and friends. Focus on spending quality time with loved ones, fostering deeper connections and improving relationships. Give the people in your life who matter most the undivided attention they deserve. Go on coffee dates, have long conversations and do activities together so you can bond and reconnect.
Promote Rest and Rejuvenation
The last tip is to make sure you truly use your vacation to recharge. Allow yourself to rest, which will promote mental and emotional well-being.
Many of us feel a constant need to be productive. So, there might be a natural inclination to use your vacation to catch up on chores around the house, get to that home improvement project you’ve been ignoring or pick up a side hustle. Try to fight this urge. There’ll always be an opportunity to be productive, but use your vacation to do nothing but truly relax.
Pay Attention to Your Mental Health Journey
Unplugging for mental health is a gift you can give yourself. Most people find work stressful, but there’s a limit to how intense that stress should be. If you find that you can’t unwind or de-stress even after a vacation, it could be a sign of a bigger problem. You might have a toxic job you need to leave.
Or, you might have an underlying mental health condition you need treatment for. Individuals battling anxiety, depression or PTSD may find that even a vacation can’t help their symptoms. In this case, you should seek professional help to get treatment and get back to thoroughly enjoying life — both at work and on holiday.
Restore Mental Health
If you think you could benefit from professional help, contact Restore Mental Health today. Our trained and knowledgeable staff know how to deal with all kinds of mental health conditions. We offer a variety of programs so you can find what suits your lifestyle and needs best. Life shouldn’t feel overwhelming 24/7; get help to restore your happiness.