Patti Engineering Importance of Down Time

The Importance of Down Time from Work

Blog post by Barb Rausch, Human Resource Manager

“Vacations help us change the view, which can spark an idea or kick start creative thinking.” – Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media.

 Vacations are not a luxury, but a necessity for a well-balanced, healthy life.  Just as a machine requires routine maintenance and the occasional “reboot,” so does your body and mind.  When surveyed, the majority of employees have the misconception that management frowns on the idea of taking vacations… the truth is quite to the contrary.

According to a survey from the Huffington Post:

  • 40% of respondents felt that they had too much work to do, and did not want to fall behind
  • 26% are saving vacation time for emergencies

Benefits of Taking Vacation Time

Reduce Stress

  • It is known that chronic stress can be very destructive to our bodies. It releases hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.  Taking regular vacations and getting away from every day stresses gives the body a break from the constant high levels of these hormones and allows a chance to repair some of the damage.

Improve (maintain) Focus

  • We talked about chronic stress and that it can have an adverse effect on the body, one of those is the effect it has on the part of the brain that inhibits goal-directed activities and causes problems with memory. Continuous work with no breaks or vacations can make one feel blocked and distracted, and have issues with concentration.  Surveys show that almost three-quarters of people that vacation regularly feel energized and more capable to handle tasks at hand.

Heart Health

  • Stress is one of the leading causes for heart disease and high blood pressure. Long-term studies in both men and women have shown that vacations can reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack.  Men who took regular vacations were more than 32% less likely to die from a heart attack.  For women, that percentage jumps to 50%!

Illness Prevention

  • Yet another way being subjected to chronic stress can negatively affect the body is how its adrenal dysfunction can alter your immune system thus making you susceptible to numerous illnesses. You become at a much higher risk of getting infections such as colds and the flu, not to mention more serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.  Some researchers are even under the belief that long-term stress may partially contribute to cancer.  Those recently surveyed reported being and feeling happier when taking regular vacations.

Happiness

  • Neuroscientists have found that brain structure can be actually altered by chronic exposure to stress hormones which contribute to depression and anxiety.

Improved Sleep

  • Routine vacations and travel can have an almost 20% improvement in sleep.
  • Rested workers are found to be more focused and more productive. They have more energy at work.

Work-Life Balance Improves

  • Taking vacations allows workers to give that time to themselves and family, rather than to their employer. This is perhaps the most important benefit offered by using vacation time.
  • Taking vacations with family contributes positively to family bonding, communication, and solidarity.

Increased Productivity

  • Studies have found that more vacation time for workers actually increased productivity and decreased the number of sick days taken off. Workers also reported feeling more creative after taking time off, and more than 70% reported feeling more satisfied with their jobs when they took regular vacations.

Help with Weight Loss

  • Mindless eating associated with stress (response/coping method)
  • Stress hormones such as cortisol have been linked to increased belly fat and weight gain
  • Workers who took regular vacations reported feeling more energized and were often more active on vacation.
  • Taking regular vacations is also linked to improved glucose levels and some workers even had some weight loss around their waists.

Taking all of these benefits into consideration, taking vacation time just makes sense!  Now that the nicer weather is here, this may be a perfect time to take some vacation time!

 

Resources:

  • Huffington Post
  • Take your time back.org, Dr. Leigh Vinocur
  • Occupational Safety Group, Jenna Kressler
  • 2010 Framington Heart Study