There’s something about taking time off from work that gives me an instant feeling of despair. I’m worried about taking a break and spend a portion of my leave anxious about returning back to work. Taking time off really shouldn’t be this hard, right?

However we are a career focused generation. Work has become the top priority, often leaving our personal health and relationships to come second. This is not healthy. I know this for myself, yet can’t seem to get comfortable with the guilt that comes with taking a vacation and seeking some much needed balance.

How do people banish and beat the vacation guilt surrounding taking a break once and for all? I looked into this more with a bit of research on guilt banishing affirmations, to help encourage myself to feel more comfortable with a reset, recharge and reconnection with myself and those around me.

1. A Contractual Right To Take Vacation Time

Seems silly to remind myself that vacation time is included within my contract. Yet with 40% of Americans leaving unused paid vacation time on the table every year and a YouGov survey finding that nearly a third of British workers did not take their full holiday entitlement of 28 days off work, it’s a perk we don’t always feel comfortable taking advantage of.

2.  An Employer Wants Us To Take a Break

Employers are also recognizing the benefits to their employees taking their contractual leave and are upping their game in supporting and encouraging employees to take a holiday. They want to ensure employees do not reach burnout, take increased sickness leave or leave due to feeling unhappy.

“Let’s loosen up some time and take a break to re-calibrate our life. We need no endless over-thinking, though. Let’s just connect the dots, set the scene, and steam ahead. (“On a casual day without a tie”)”

— Eric Pevernagie, Author

3. A Healthy Work-Life Balance Is Important

A poor work-life balance results in a number of symptoms that affect overall well-being. In a Harvard Business School Study 94% of professionals revealed working more than 50 hours a week. This level of commitment undoubtedly results in increased levels of stress and affects overall happiness, health and relationships.

The 9-5 demands a lot, often nowadays, it demands much more than a 9-5 shift. But we can and should unplug and disconnect outside of working hours or when taking a break. The very reason we might do this is to ensure a productive, motivated, happy individual clocking back into work. Who in turns brings home less stress and negativity to their personal lives and those within it.

A healthy work-life balance is important for an enjoyable working life, mental health and for maintaining personal relationships and life outside of work.

4. You Will Reach Burnout If You Do Not Take A Break

And burnout will destroy you. The dissatisfaction, discontent and utter physical and mental exhaustion will push you to a point of frustration, unhappiness and emotional helplessness. By not taking a break you are on the right track to hitting your burnout goal, a goal none of us should be aiming for.

“Research shows that we need to take a break and decompress so we can be at our best at work and at home. Maybe we should ask if the life we’re working so hard to create is fun to live?” – Tina Hallis, Motivational Speaker & Author.

5. Taking A Break Will Positively Affect Your Return to Work

If you are feeling tired, stressed and lacking in productivity whilst tackling your workload, a break will in fact positively assist. Research proves that disconnecting from work offers opportunity to reconnect with yourself.

A true vacation will improve your stress levels, your happiness and you will be more productive on your return.

6. You Only Live Once

The truth is we aren’t getting any younger. Remember what it feels like to have the sun on your skin and listen to the ocean whilst sipping a cocktail, not a care in the world? No worries. No stress. Complete and utter relaxation. No??

If you are feeling all warm and relaxed just at the thought of it, research confirms that just the anticipation of an upcoming break increases feelings of happiness. If just the thought has this effect, imagine how good the reality will be!

To truly beat vacation guilt, get that flight booked and enjoy life outside of work – YOLO!

By Amy Roullier
By Amy Roullier

Amy is the Founder and Editor of The Authentic Optimist. She talks all things life. From the highs to the lows, to all those messy bits in-between. She is a writer, rambler, lover of carbs (her true soulmate) and she is especially passionate about dispelling myths about women in their 30s. Amy lives in Lincolnshire with her two greyhounds.

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