Why you need to get away from work – without taking work with you

Why you need to get away from work – without taking work with you

How many times have you heard the old cliché “overworked and underpaid”? If you are a member of today’s workforce, chances are you’ve heard many grumblings that signal a need for some time off. While you can’t always control how much you’re getting paid (that’s a whole other topic), taking time away from work is important for several reasons. First of all, you don’t want to burn out, especially if you’re working in a career that you love. It’s hard enough to take your mind off work, even on vacation. But if you have a career that inspires you, then it’s especially hard.

Be honest. How many times over the weekend do you think about work? Have you caught yourself checking emails or doing other work during your time off? If you catch yourself reading and responding to emails over the weekend, that’s one thing. But if you’re on the beach in Mexico and you’re checking your Blackberry for the third time that day, then you need to admit that you’re a workaholic.

While it’s great to have a career that engages you, there are times you need to relax. Forcing yourself to take time away is healthy for your mind and your career. It’s understandable in today’s economic climate to be concerned about your production at work. But don’t forget you earned your time off, and if your co-workers and superiors are supportive of your success, then they will not be upset if you fall off the grid during your vacation. Some careers require that you check in from time to time during a vacation, but don’t overdo it. And don’t feel obligated to respond to emails if you are a copied recipient of that email.

How can you practice controlling your workaholic impulses?

There are several ways. Start by thinking about yourself, not your work self, the “you” that makes you unique. Are you spending enough time pursuing your hobbies and interests outside of work? If you say that your work is also your hobby, then you should really consider getting another hobby. Focusing on diet and exercise is an outlet that can keep your body and mind healthy. With a healthy mind, your work will improve. Plus, with healthy diet and exercise habits, you can plan vacations that allow you to relax, but also keep you busy. If you are rock climbing, scuba diving, biking along a trail or participating in some other activity, you might not stress out about checking your email or worry about your co-workers managing without you.

Putting yourself into a non-work state of mind can be difficult regardless of your career. Just remember that your employer allows you vacation time for a good reason: you deserve it.

We want to know how you plan on spending your time away from work and what kinds of techniques you use to get in relaxation mode. Join the conversation by leaving your comments below!