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Maximize your annual vacation now – this is how you should spend it

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We are currently at the height of the holiday season, but instead of sipping cocktails on the beach, hiking the mountains and enjoying what life has to offer, a surprising number of people are reluctant to take time off from their job. Recent research shows that one in five people in Ireland do not get everything from their diet right to annual leave. And in the UK, two out of five employees have taken less leave in recent years due to the pandemic.

Taking time out from work is important in order to live our lives to the fullest, but there are several things that can discourage us from taking annual leave. Some people doubt that taking time out will be enough psychological detachment from work for example. The fear that thoughts of work will invade our minds encourages many people to just keep working. A common trend among those who are obsessive passionate about their work, these feelings can become presumptuous, controlling their thoughts and making them temporarily unable to forget their work.

Another reason why people don’t take time off is because they don’t expect it feel relaxed during holidays. This may be due to their circumstances or choices made about how they spend their free time. Especially family holidays can cause a lot of conflict and sometimes even become even more stressful than work. Unsurprisingly, staying at work rather than taking time out can be tempting for many.

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Alternatively, some people are afraid of the financial consequences of annual leave. Vacations are expensive, especially for large families, causing many to waive their right to leave to save money.

Benefits of annual leave

These are just a few examples of why people can avoid holidays, but for whatever reason, taking time off – especially from demanding jobs – has immediate benefits in terms of reducing stress and burnout. These benefits are only temporary, with stress often building up again shortly after you return to work. As such, regular breaks throughout the year can help achieve the cumulative health benefits of annual vacation.

The good news is that taking a week to two weeks off is enough to recover and experience a boost of positive emotions. This will start to subside as the free time comes to an end, but will still provide the break needed to recharge your batteries.

Annual leave is also beneficial for employers, as it improves employee productivity by up to 40%, reduces absenteeism by 28%, and boosts creativity and mental health. Taking time out is also essential for parentsbecause their kids get huge benefits from spending more time together.

Making the most of annual leave

While these numbers may have you reaching for your phone to look for package deals, the peak in travel disruption this summer can keep you from looking for the most remote destination. But you don’t need expensive foreign vacations to enjoy your annual vacation. Here are three holidays activities that can improve well-being whether you are away or on vacation:

1. Practice relaxation

Relaxation can be easy breathing exercises that can help reduce anxiety. An alternative that can have similar benefits is to use meditation techniques such as: attentiveness.

2. Spend time in nature

During your annual vacation, try to spend as much time in nature as possible, as this is accompanied by an improvement of both emotional and psychological Health. It doesn’t matter what you do when you enjoy nature; you can be active, for example walking, running, gardening, or just sitting on a park bench or spending time looking at the sky.

3. Engage your brain

Take time off as an opportunity to develop your interests. If you enjoy reading, plan to read a few books during the holidays. Research shows these activities support our spirit and our moods, regardless of age. There are additional benefits if you kids enjoy books during the summer.

If you enjoy listening to music, you can also take the time to dust off your CDs or rearrange your digital music library. Share music, play an instrument, write lyrics, dance or even just listen to as much music as possible to improve your physical and mental health.

These are just a few ideas. The important thing is to do something that will occupy your mind, help you forget about your job and allow you to rest for a while before going back to work and feeling happier and more energized than before.The conversation

Article by Jolanta Burkesenior lecturer, Center for Positive Psychology and Health, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences

This article was republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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