When was the last time you took a work vacation? Are you one of those working moms who brings your laptop and Blackberry with you to the beach or the mountain cabin?
If so, you need a work vacation! Not only does your body crave the work vacation to reduce your stress level, your family deserves your focused attention. You can only provide that when you take a true work vacation.
I'm not trying to provoke working moms guilt, since I too have trouble unplugging from work. Instead, I'm hoping to inspire you -- and myself -- to live a more balanced and healthy life with these 5 reasons to take a work vacation.
Kids Learn From Your Work Vacation
Our children are always learning from us, including the lessons we wish they'd ignore. The toddler who pretends to pump breast milk and dash out the door to work is simply mimicking your routine.
How can you chide your teenager for ignoring you in favor of a video game if you're always checking your iPhone for work messages? When you put away the PDA during dinner or a work vacation, you're teaching an important lesson about good manners -- in addition to modeling work-life balance.
Our children will never believe they're our most important priority -- which they are -- unless we show them that we can put work aside to meet their needs. When you take a true work vacation, you're teaching your children that there are higher priorities in life than your job.
A Work Vacation Restores Balance
Daily life can feel so chaotic and frenetic. We need a work vacation or two every year in order to reorient ourselves and reestablish our sense of perspective.
Instead of dashing from crisis to crisis and juggling conflicting projects, on a work vacation you can stop watching the clock and just be present. For yourself and your family. It's a gift for your children that only you, their mom, can give.
When you return to the press of work, you'll bring with you that sense of balance and larger priorities. That makes it easier to say no to less urgent tasks and spend more quality time with your family.
Your Co-Workers Become Resilient
We all like to feel indispensible at work, but the problem with being the go-to person is that you can never take a work vacation. Just this once, unplug. Let them figure out the answer without you. Ideally, take a trip to a remote cabin with no Internet access or cell phone reception.
If you must check in -- or your boss requests it -- set a designated time when you will be available by phone or email. Make sure you don't look at your email or mobile phone at any other moment of your holiday!
One working mom who used this technique retrieved two voice mails. The first was her colleague in a panic, looking for an answer to an urgent question. The second was a few hours later from the same person, happily telling the mom to enjoy her vacation since they'd figured out the problem without her.
Now, when that mom returns to the office, her co-workers will be more resilient and independent. She'll be able to get more focused work time throughout the year since she's not holding hands. In fact, the whole team can be more productive.
You Return With New Energy
Work burnout is no laughing matter. You can seriously impair your creativity and productivity by slogging through the entire year without a break from long hours and a heavy workload.
That's why we all need a work vacation, to give our minds a rest from the issues we face every day in our jobs. We return to the work place with new energy, enthusiasm and even a fresh idea or two for tackling problems.
Who knows, you might even discover that you enjoy your job again, after a little time away.
Life Is Short
Have I convinced you yet? If not, remember that nobody ever lay on her death bed wishing for more time at the office.
We should enjoy life while we're living it. What a waste of our short time on this earth to spend it all cooped up behind a desk or counter. Remember that we work to live -- not live to work.