South Africans have been labelled some of the hardest working humans in the world. Nearly 12% of the South African workforce spend more than 60 hours per week on the job. This is despite the fact that South African labour laws prohibit more than 45 hours per week. We work hard!
Life is, well … life. It is always going to be hard. While working ourselves to the bone is common, and even expected by some employers, it’s probably doing more harm than good. But here’s the thing, our bodies are extraordinary intricate physiological machines. And, as we all know, any machine that’s run too hard, for too long, without upkeep, will ultimately break down. Without regular breaks, you’re at risk for burnout and productivity will dwindle.
But isn’t that what annual leave is for; to recharge and reset for the year ahead? This is the norm, right? But is it enough? According to a U.K. survey, in order to avoid burnout from work or other stressors, you need time off - every 62 days - otherwise you increase your chances of growing anxious, aggressive, or physically ill. The brain, especially, needs substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas.
The good news is that time off from work doesn’t have to mean a luxurious cruise to Tahiti (although, wouldn’t that be nice?!). It could mean a day here and there, an afternoon, or even a morning. Sometimes you just need to take a break from stress long enough to disrupt the body’s stress response cycle. That’s it!
Time off is linked to a slew of benefits. Besides an increase in productivity and creativity, you’ll be able to reset yourself mentally. Taking an afternoon off will make it easier to have a clear head once back at work.
Taking a day for yourself will help you to remember who you are. You are, in fact, a person who has interests and hobbies. Read a book, take a walk, ride your bike, or take time to simply “be.” An afternoon, or a morning off can help you to refocus on your goals and gain perspective; it could inspire you to make changes to reach set goals sooner.
The pressure to meet and exceed expectations often result in early mornings, working lunches, and late nights. We’re constantly “plugged in” and the lines between work and home have become blurred. A short break can be a valuable way to feel restored and refreshed. Think of it as preventative care to manage stress and to prevent burnout.
Kicking back, often, is hardly an unproductive activity, it’s a necessity. Time off from work is integral to well-being, sustained productivity, and high performance.
Don’t be afraid to ask for time off. It may be the best thing you ever do for your career!
Be sure to check with your manager or Human Resources department on company policy guidelines when requesting time off.
Source: theleegroup.com, thriveglobal.com, verywellmind.com, thebalancecareers.com, greatergood.berkeley.edu, forbes.com, yahoo.com, regsdienste.solidariteit.co.za, bestlifeonline.com, indeed.com, qz.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.