“We need to work against that culture of always being busy and develop
more realistic expectations of what our brains and bodies can handle.”
A couple of short vacations over the summer months opened my eyes to the importance – no, the necessity – of resting my brain while experiencing a change in environment and routine, i.e., taking a vacation.
After just a few days (mostly) disconnected from my laptop and connected to outdoor activities, I began to feel my shoulders drop, my mind open up, my worldview expand and creative energy building.
I heard the voice inside speaking very clearly. What both my body and mind want and need is time for rejuvenation.
Being a soloprenuer of this young business adds an additional layer of challenge in taking time off. There’s always work to be done. And, having grown up on a Midwestern farm where work was required 7-days and 52 weeks a year, work has been part of my routine since I was 8 years old. I know how to work. It’s not working that’s harder for me.
1.3 Million YEARS of Earned American Vacation Time Goes UNUSED Annually (Reported by Expedia, 2015)
And I’m not alone. The globalization of our new economy and technological advances have increased pressure to stay connected to work 24/7. And as the scale tips toward exhaustion, stress related disease, depression and the effects of overload, the impact of our “connected” addiction is being reflected in the level of happiness we experience.
Downtime serves to restore our highest levels of productivity, job satisfaction and engagement, improved efficiency and accuracy and fosters creative thinking. More importantly, our quality of life and level of happiness increase dramatically. Time slows down and we experience more ease and flow in our daily activities.
The good news is that some visionary companies are starting to acknowledge the negative impact on health and productivity when employees work are “on call” 24/7 – sometimes even while they vacation.
But, until the workplace at large adopts new practices and the workforce changes its connectivity commitment, how do we take care of ourselves?
For most of us, myself included, it’s a personal choice. I’m not an expert here, but I’m inclined to think that the likelihood is slim that many (if any) employee handbooks exist that require employee availability and connection 24/7.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve collectively agreed to a belief that says that busyness is a status symbol and if someone isn’t needing us any time, day or night, then we aren’t valuable. It’s a dangerous and insidious practice that can be unlearned the same way it was learned. One person at a time.
See “Tips and Tools for Giving Your Overworked Brain a Break” for help in getting started. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
“Give Me A Break,” Ferris Jabr, Scientific American Mind