Two Weeks That Could Save Your Life

FullSizeRenderIf you’re like me, contemplating an extended time away from work–from the studio, a small business, or booming corporation–fills you with stress. There is always too much to get done and there will always be more work to do. However, foregoing those extended vacations and accruing time off that you will never use, could be harming you and your work in the long run. Neglecting to take time off and truly unplug from email and conference calls could prompt a host of other issues that are far more stressful and detrimental than taking time off. Think heart attacks, emotional burnout, loss of self. “Studies show that vacations are as important as watching your cholesterol or getting exercise. An annual holiday can cut the risk of heart attack in men by 30 percent and in women by 50 percent.”

In Japan, karoshi–death from overwork–has become increasingly common. The major causes are typically heart attack and stroke due to stress and starvation diet. Cultural expectations, unpaid overtime, pressure to produce, workplace stress, and no time off have all contributed to this new disturbing occurrence. Taking time off and unplugging isn’t just about stress relief, it’s about saving your life.  It’s about rebooting your body, your emotional resources, and giving your system a rest. It’s about creating a healthier mind and body: “Time away from the source of stressors helps regather crashed emotional resources, such as a sense of mastery and social support.”

A vacation sounds great, right? I’m sure you’ve already started dreaming up your next trip.  However, there is one catch.  It takes two weeks away from stress to reboot those resources. The recuperative benefits of time off can’t come from just a long weekend. That’s not to say that taking a long weekend away isn’t beneficial. But, if you’re the kind of person that takes a day here and there throughout the year without truly getting away from it all, you’re not getting the same benefit as someone that unplugs entirely for at least two weeks. Don’t forget, as Joe Robinson says, “Adventure isn’t a diversion from what we’re supposed to be doing on this planet; it’s the main event.” Take time to adventure and care for yourself.  It will benefit your health, your work, and your life.

Have I convinced you to take time off yet?  Summer is upon us, so take advantage of it. There’s no time like the present to get out there and live your life away from work!

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