It’s hard enough when you’re in the “real world” and working, making a commission or salary, to find the time to relax and have fun. Society teaches us, although it seems to be shifting a bit, that taking vacation days or personal days should induce guilt. To prove this, the Expedia.com Vacation Deprivation Survey shows that Americans get roughly 13 paid vacation days. 6 of those 13 are holidays where the majority of society closes, and of the remaining 7, the average American only uses 4. We seem to think that if we’re not at work, someone will replace us. (Which, arguably, may be true.) And when you shift over from the corporate America or paid work to going to school, or when you’re trying to take on both, it gets even easier to engulf yourself in work, work, work. . . and no play. And with all work and no play, inevitably, you will hit the burn out stage.
Here are a few tips and facts to encourage you to take things a little easy:
1. Do something you enjoy every night. Whether you like crosswords, reading, sudoku, reality TV (The Kardashians are great for brainless TV in all their ridiculous, luxurious, rump-tastic-ness. Just sayin’…), catching a game, or drinking a beer or wine, take a minute or twelve and relax.
2. Plan a bi-monthly weekend adventure. It doesn’t have to be a night on the town, or it can be. Go to a museum, a movie, a concert. Tailor it to your workload. For example, if I know I have a ton of work to do and I stifle my inner procrastinator and want to be efficient, my weekend adventure might be dinner and a drink out. I’m home by 10:30, I’m probably wide awake, and I’m relaxed enough that I can sit down and focus while being satisfied having had some sort of social interaction. It’s like dieting. If you deprive yourself of chocolate, that’s all you’re going to want. So have a bite, and get on with it.
3. A fun fact also according to the Expedia.com Vacation Deprivation Survey , “Roughly one-third of employed U.S. adults (34%) reported feeling better about their job and feeling more productive upon returning from vacation.” Case. In. Point.
4. Why are you still here? Go work, or relax, but go do something! Ok ok, fine. If you’re still here, also check out this blog. It’s got great insights. More Work-Life Balance Stuff from Small Business Blog.