When we were kids, we looked forward to that golden stretch of summer vacation – three months off from our regular routines, school, and homework. It helped revitalize us. As adults, taking PTO is equally important for your health and productivity.
Working long hours without sustained breaks can substantially increase your risk of stroke or heart attack, according to the World Health Organization. Taking time off, on the other hand, can reduce these risks.
Vacation is also great for your mental health. Time away from your inbox decreases your body’s production of cortisol, a hormone caused by stress that puts your body under strain. Research shows that taking time off gives your brain a chance to rest and relax. This in turn boosts your productivity when you return to the office, which can help you enjoy work more and feel more fulfilled by it.
While a week-long stay on a beach might be the dream, even short breaks create great benefits. Taking a long weekend can be incredibly beneficial. Even a random day off in the middle of the week now and again is good for your brain and body. Whether you’re taking a half-day or a half-month, it’s important to be intentional about this time. Set up your out-of-office message and plan to respond when you get back. Plan to not answer work-related phone calls. The benefits of vacation decrease if you’re not really disengaging – so log out of your inbox and fully commit yourself to relaxing. Your brain and body will thank you!