Rest Is Not a Reward – Why Everybody Needs a Vacation

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The breakneck pace of today’s world and its productivity cult have led to people sacrificing their free time and energy. This also includes social and family lives for the sake of work, profit, and professional success. Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that humans are not machines. As such, are not capable of working around the clock. Eventually, people began to crumble under pressure. At the end of the day, everybody needs a vacation to unwind.

As a result of years of frantic grind and exploitation, the World Health Organization has classified burn-out as an occupational phenomenon. Although it’s not a medical condition, it’s a disease of affluence or a lifestyle disease. This can lead to actual health problems, from cardiovascular issues to depression and anxiety.

However, as younger generations enter the job market, we can observe a turnaround in work-oriented thinking. Finally, more and more people begin to realise that work-life balance is essential. This is not only for maintaining one’s physical and mental health as well as meaningful relationships but also for staying productive and actually succeeding at work in the long term.

Rest is not a reward for productivity – this slogan is rightfully trending, and below, you will find the reasons why it’s a right or even a necessity.

Rest Actually Increases Productivity

The more time you spend working, the greater your chances of achieving success in your career. That’s what most people believe anyway.

In truth, rest is not a reward for productivity but a crucial factor that contributes to the overall success in both personal and professional lives. If we compare humans and machines, people can be compared to those devices that need to have their batteries charged. Even your phone needs some time off, so how can you keep on working?

Your dream job can be stressful, too, and prolonged stress can lead to memory issues, anxiety, and fatigue, which may all result in serious health problems. This is not a state of mind that will allow you to be at your best. Time off work can help you restore your energy and creativity levels and, thus, stay healthy and efficient.

It doesn’t matter what you do with that free time as long as it’s something you enjoy and helps you unwind. There are those who would be the happiest to purchase an e-cigarette (just check the local vaping laws), take a good book or an iPod, and lie on the beach for the whole week, vaping, immersing themselves in a story or music, and doing virtually nothing. Others would prefer hiking, reconnecting with nature, and avoiding people, while a different group may like nothing more than sightseeing. A staycation is also an option that’s increasing in popularity, especially in the face of a global pandemic.

You need to stay away from work-related issues – only then will you be able to truly recharge.

Downtime Is Crucial for Mental Health

Another reason everybody needs a vacation is for mental health. In the midst of all the responsibilities, mental health often gets neglected. Work and family are the main priorities, with leisure and entertainment often sacrificed for the sake of meeting deadlines, earning more money, or simply trying to keep up with peers. 

However, a person can only go on like this for so long; a hectic lifestyle will eventually take its toll on your mental health, and it will be to no one’s benefit, not even the job or project you’ve been sacrificing yourself for. Burn-out doesn’t just make you feel miserable; it affects your productivity, creativity, and cognitive abilities, significantly degrading your performance and effectiveness. In fact, according to WHO, the global economy loses $1 trillion per year due to the productivity lost because of depression and anxiety.

Although the symptoms differ from person to person, most people suffering because of overworking experience a variety of mental and physical symptoms, including weight changes, disturbed sleep patterns, panic attacks, fatigue, irritability, or digestive problems. If your mental health is neglected, negative emotions, such as guilt, self-blame, helplessness, or even shame, arise. As a result, you may be unable to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Then, the vicious cycle is complete.

In consequence, depression and anxiety, burn-out or being overworked can lead to substance abuse and even suicide.

Your Body Will Thank You, Too

We tend to think that physical health is more straightforward than mental health; after all, you can feel pain when you step on a rusty nail or run out of breath during exercise. However, there are many physical ailments that have less obvious symptoms and are hard to detect, such as chronic stress or insomnia, both of which can be highly detrimental to your long-term health.

Sleep deprivation is a perfect example of this. In its early stages, it can make you irritable, anxious, and unmotivated, but over time, it can also lead to depression, digestion problems, and cardiovascular issues. And if you ignore your body’s signals and symptoms, you can wind up with chronic conditions that require considerable medical care.

According to a study, working without regular vacations significantly increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure, high sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and a variety of other symptoms that might eventually cause severe health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, or heart disease.

Moreover, chronic stress and fatigue actually compromise the immune system. This makes you more prone to diseases, even more important due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

People Need Meaningful Relationships

That’s right, and you need time to maintain them. In addition to work, people often sacrifice their free time and any semblance of social life. Even though it may be challenging to keep up with friends and family, those relationships are essential for your mental health.

Family and friends are a source of happiness, as well as a tool for self-development, while pastimes and hobbies help us stay in contact with others and remain a part of society. The ability to express your emotions, share experiences, and have fun with others is vital for mental health. That’s why time off work is crucial for a well-rounded person.

What’s more, maintaining a work-life balance is not only about making time for other people; by taking care of yourself, you will spare your loved ones dealing with the irritated, busy, or even depressed version of yourself.

The Bottom Line

The modern workplace is not exactly a relaxing place to be. In order to stay productive and successful, you have to make time for some rest. Your performance at work will not just improve but also become sustainable in the long run. 

In today’s world, rest is not a reward for productivity; it’s an integral factor in a person’s overall success. Being overworked and exhausted leads to health problems, and the risk of burn-out and mental breakdown is only rising. To avoid this, you need to take proper care of your body and mind. Take a break from work to recharge, and you’ll be more productive in the long run. You deserve it!

Natalia Kołkowska

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