The world of work, and specifically the world of business, has this tendency to always pedal to the metal. There is an underlying feeling or idea that if you are not being productive, you are actively falling behind. While there may be some truth in that, burnout is a very real thing. No matter who you or what you do, if you push yourself too far physically, mentally, or emotionally, you are likely to suffer the consequences. If rest was a non-necessity, we simply would not become tired and require sleep. However, sometimes we require a longer rest or break from the stresses of our work lives. The co-CEO of Netflix illustrated this point well, “I take a lot of vacation and I’m hoping that certainly sets an example. It is helpful. You often do your best thinking when you’re off hiking in some mountain or something. You get a different perspective on things.”
As the holiday season is upon us, now is a wonderful time to take a step back from work to better ourselves. We spoke to a variety of business executives to find how to spend your vacation (it shouldn’t be at the office.)
Spend time outdoors
Son of a Barista is a company which produces in-home Italian espresso makers. Their CEO, Luca Capula, believes that anyone with free time should make the most of it by getting some quality time in nature.
“Whether it’s going for a walk or signing up for a recreational sport, everyone can benefit from time spent outdoors. We spend so much of our lives in climate-controlled environments and under non-natural lighting. Between the physical exercise and the exposure to vitamin D, there are a multitude of benefits to getting out for even 30 minutes. If you’re on vacation, allocating this much time should be no problem. I think people will find a noticeable difference within themselves if they’re consistent in outdoor activities.”
Look to travel
Rachel Jones is the head of PR for Hope Health, an online retailer for nutrition and health products. Her suggestion is for people to travel, regardless of whether that is to somewhere familiar or unfamiliar.
“An incredibly consistent work schedule can become extremely limiting to a life outside of your routine. A quality job will not eliminate your social life or ability to do personal things, but it will likely keep you tied to a specific area for long periods of time. People should attempt to break outside this routine with their vacation, regardless of what that looks like for them. Maybe you haven’t seen a friend who lives in a different city in multiple years. Hop a flight and spend a few days with them. Have you ever wanted to visit a specific historic site or city but simply haven’t followed through? Your vacation time is the perfect time to do so. I’ve found adventures like these to be incredibly refreshing.”
Make the most of your time
Circular is a company that has produced a ring which specializes in 24/7 activity, sleep, and wellness monitoring with personalized recommendations. Their CEO, Amaury Kosman, advises those on vacation to plan out their time and to be creative.
“For most, their vacation will come to an end much quicker than they would prefer. Regardless of where or how you’ll spend your free time, be sure to devise a plan for what that will look like. Choose specific activities for specific days. Find flights that don’t cut into the daylight hours you have available. Plan your vacation days around holidays to maximize your free time. Anything you can do to fully invest in your vacation is well worth it as you don’t want to reach the end of your time and feel as if it’s been wasted.”
Be true to yourself
Benjamin Meskin is the president of Cabrella, a company working exclusively in shipping, insurance, and risk intelligence software for luxury and high-value items. His recommendations to anyone taking time off work are to make sure they use that time in a way that is genuine to who they are.
“Some people have a deep desire to travel. Others would rather spend the evening on their back patio surrounded by friends. How you spend your vacation time is irrelevant so long as it allows you to take your mind off the stressors of life and to enjoy where you’re presently at. Ideally, your vacation plans should bring joy and peace to your life. They should not be another stressor or inconvenience.”
Invest in self-care
evo hemp is an online retailer concentrating on a variety of hemp and CBD products. Ari Sherman, their co-founder, believes that vacation time is a wonderful occasion to assess your personal needs and attempt to fulfill those.
“When many of your days are focused on the projects and time constraints of a busy work life, your personal well-being can easily be overlooked. As you begin your time off, take some time to ask yourself questions such as, ‘What do I need right now?’ Your body may be telling you that you require food, rest, or exercise. Another helpful question is ‘How can I take concrete steps to improve the quality of my life?’ It may be time to look into meal-planning, joining a gym or finding a new hobby.”
Attempt to better yourself
Christopher Ager is the co-founder of HomeBreeze, a business focused on water heater replacement and installation. His suggestion to anyone utilizing their time off is to set aside their work productivity and replace a portion of that focus on themselves.
“Many people view time off as simply a time to take a break. Resting and decompressing should never be overlooked. However, a great deal of free time is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills, reinvest in an old skill, or gain knowledge in an unfamiliar topic. Pick up that foreign language book you’ve had sitting on the shelf but never got around to reading. Head out to the garage and reacquaint yourself with that project that fell by the wayside. It’s wise to take advantage of the free time you have available by doing things you may not have time for otherwise.”
Spend time with those important to you
Blink Bar is a California-based business specializing in eyelash care and extensions. Their CEO, Tirzah Shirai, advises those on vacation to ensure that they invest at least a portion of that time with the people in their life who hold deep meaning or impact.
“A full-time job can eat up much of your life to the point where you find that you simply don’t have time, or as much time as you’d like, for others. A vacation is one of the best opportunities to strengthen relationships with the people who matter in your life. This type of interaction is as beneficial to your friends and family as it is to you.”
It is vastly important to realize just how much of a positive impact taking time off work can have on yourself. Between self-improvement, quality time with loved ones, travel and a variety of other activities, there are numerous ways to go about using vacation time. Author Douglas Pagels put it best, “Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision of the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”