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Relaxing next to the water

The importance of taking a break

It’s summertime here in Ohio. And after a very long winter, I am happily enjoying the warm weather and longer days.

Like many employees at other businesses, our Dot Org Solutions team members are taking vacations and scheduling some well-deserved (and much-needed) time off from work. There have been beach vacations (taken and planned), trips to Cedar Point, hikes, visits to farmers’ markets, runs in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and explorations yet unknown.

I am an advocate of taking time away from work to rest, rejuvenate and revitalize. Whether we take a planned getaway or just a personal day to catch up on sleep or nagging home tasks (mulch anyone?), getting away from the office has its benefits.

When I worked for someone else, I happily took a vacation day here and there to catch up on the little things such as painting a room, cleaning out closets and yes, mulching and weeding the flower beds. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. It also helped me get through tasks that were always in the back of my mind or I didn’t seem to have time for them.

Now that I am a small business owner, I sometimes forget why it is beneficial to take a few personal or vacation days. After all, it’s so easy to think of reasons NOT to take time off. There’s too much work to do. Clients need us. We have a small team and we are often all hands on deck. Or, the most common one for me: we bill by the hour, so taking time off impacts the bottom line.

Still, everyone needs a break. Whether it is a week at the beach, a day spent checking off a to-do list or even a day binge-watching our favorite shows, research shows that taking time off from work is good for our mental and physical health. That’s no surprise for those who take time off regularly (but not too regularly). Those of us who aren’t good at scheduling that time need to get better at it - and not feel guilty about it.

In addition to the normal reasons for taking a break, here are some of my personal thoughts on why we all need some time away.

When you are burned out or stressed, you’re really not much help.

Whether you know it or not, if you are tired, crabby or have your mind on a thousand things that aren’t work-related, you really don’t help your team very much. In fact, you can negatively impact the work they are doing, cause an upheaval on projects or send them in the wrong direction. So, if you recognize that you aren’t feeling right emotionally, imagine how your coworkers feel when you are like this. It is stressful to them too. Getting away will not only help you, but it will also help the work environment and your team’s ability to complete projects.

Sometimes you need to clear the physical clutter to clear the mental clutter.

As I said earlier, I’m a fan of taking a vacation day here and there to catch up on “stuff.” When you deal with physical clutter, some of the mental clutter often goes with it. I actually spent a recent weekend day at home cleaning my home office. After eight hours of shredding, filing, purging and cleaning, my workspace is now a much more comfortable and productive place to be. In the days that followed, I felt much more mentally clear and less stressed.

I’m looking forward to my next weekend project – cleaning and organizing the basement storage room.

You just simply need a break from the people in your office.

Most of us spend more time with our coworkers than our own families. That’s a lot of quality time together. And, no matter how well you get along, it’s healthy to take a break from each other. Heck, you might even reconnect with family and friends that you haven’t seen in a while because you work so much.

And these people need a break from you, too.

Don’t take it personally, but your coworkers need a break from you, too. As I mentioned before, it is healthy and natural to want to spend a little bit of time apart. Plus, you will likely come back to work happier and these coworkers may come up with some ideas to make projects better while you are gone.

This summer and beyond, I vow to take some time for myself. I already have a beach vacation planned and am thinking of taking a day or two to get through that nagging list. So, my plan is that as fall comes, I’ll have the mental and physical energy to be the best I can be for my work and family.


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