(Please see bottom of post for a list of this week’s giveaway winners!)
You work hard. You care about your job and take pride in your performance. You put in extra hours whenever asked, and are always willing to go the extra mile. You are constantly juggling change and last minute requests without complaining. You put up with that annoying co-worker and refrain from causing them bodily harm. You are respected and admired by your employer and have built a reputation for being dependable, responsible and trustworthy.
Yet despite all the facts, you feel guilty about taking a vacation and leaving work behind.
Make note of these three words: STOP. FEELING. GUILTY!
A new stress survey was recently done by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College, which showed more than 8 in 10 employed Americans were stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. This was a big increase over the prior year’s survey, which had found that 73% of Americans were stressed about work. This year’s survey showed that 83% of Americans were stressed about work.
I also read that less than half of the people who are stressed at or about their jobs feel they have enough resources or time to manage their stress. Sadly, these two statistics combined mean a lot of people are simply a ticking time bombs. A stress explosion, or a physical or mental meltdown, might be quickly approaching.
I dare to assume that nearly everyone reading this blog today would say they fall into that 83%. Although Americans are known to get the fewest vacation days, we leave more vacation days unused than the average worker in other countries. In fact, one survey I came across said only 57% of Americans actually use all of their vacation days.
There are a lot of reasons that we don’t take time off from work. Possibly we may fear getting too far behind, or allow other people to make us feel negligent for even considering it. Some people may be afraid getting fired for taking vacation days, although if a company actually did that it would be illegal. We worry that work be too tough when we get back from vacation. And most people just feel plain guilty for taking a break at all!
You not only deserve a vacation because you work hard every day, you NEED a vacation, and you should not feel guilty (or let someone make you feel guilty) for taking one. Below are a few suggestions for overcoming the guilt of being gone, committing to not working while on vacation, and embracing some much-needed time off.
* When you were hired, you were told how many vacation days you would be allowed. Whether it’s 4 days or 4 weeks, take them all!
* Always have an honest conversation with your boss to determine when might be a good time for your time off, rather than just taking off at your own discretion without regard to other employee absences, busy seasons, etc.
* Make sure you prepare well for your vacation so your work doesn’t fall apart while you are away. Pay great attention to detail, meet current deadlines or assign tasks to a co-worker, finish projects early if possible, and provide backup information to anyone who may need it in your absence. Make sure your office is neat and organized, so co-workers can find information if needed.
* Do not agree to be “on call” or “readily available” while you are away. Set some boundaries and stick to them. If your workplace knows they can reach you while you are away – they most certainly will. And you may need another vacation when you return to work.
* Toss out the secret mindset that the company will fall apart if you aren’t there. The company, and your workload, will be there when you return.
* If you are one of the 40% of Americans, 55 million people, who do not receive paid vacation time, avoid guilt by properly saving all year long to take vacation so your absence from work won’t cause a financial strain on you or your family. If you don’t have paid or unpaid time off, talk with your supervisor about scheduling a day to take off. If an employer refuses to acknowledge the need to allow employees some time off, it might be a sign to start looking for other opportunities who value their employees.
* Remember that if you don’t take some time off, your health, your family, and your work will eventually begin to suffer. Vacation time is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity for for being a healthy, well rounded human being.
Maybe you don’t work outside the home, but you feel guilty for taking a vacation without the kids. Here are a few tips for those who find themselves in this predicament, many of which are similar to the ones above:
* When you had children, you didn’t sign a contract stating your private or leisure time was voided forever. Take some time off from the hardest job in the universe – parenting!
* Make sure you prepare well to be away from the kids so that your mind will be at ease while you’re away. Secure dependable babysitters or family whom you feel comfortable leaving the kids with. Purchase their favorite foods to enjoy while you’re gone. Schedule some fun activities to keep them occupied.
* Be readily available in case of an emergency, but don’t field calls all day long from the kids with request to settle arguments, tattle tale or ask mundane questions. Check in once a day to tell them you love them and trust that they are in good hands.
* Don’t let parents, grandparents, friends or the kids make you feel guilty for taking some time off. You’ve earned it. Enjoy it.
* Toss out the mindset that the kids won’t survive without you at home. Because they will. 🙂
* Remember that sometimes we need to make our spouses a priority. Time alone with a spouse is a must every now and then and will benefit you, your spouse, your marriage and your family overall. It’s a win-win scenario.
* When you return home, you will refreshed, reenergized and renewed and will be better able to give more love, kindness, gentleness, patience and self control to those you love the most.
So what are those three words you need to remember when taking a vacation: STOP FEELING GUILTY!
BELOW ARE THE RANDOMLY SELECTED WINNERS OF THIS WEEK’S GIVEAWAYS:
SIGNED COPY OF STRESSED LESS LIVING
1. Bekka who posted her comment at July 16, 2013 at 12:51 am
JOURNAL AND PEN SET
1. Louise Walker who posted her comment at July 15, 2013 at 9:16 am
COPIES OF NANCY KENNEDY’S BOOK, MIRACLES & MOMENTS OF GRACE
1. Michelle b who posted at July 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm
2. Donna Larue who posted at July 17, 2013 at 9:30 am
3. Deb H who posted at July 17, 2013 at 10:22 am
4. Josie who posted at July 17, 2013 at 8:14 pm
5. Carissa D. Huffman who posted at July 17, 2013 at 10:07 am
If you see your name above, please email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Congrats!