Bridge to Health Blog
Bridge to Health Blog

Holidays matter because people matter

Written by Deborah Kerr   Posted in:Counselling / Psychotherapy   August 11, 2016

Holidays matter because people matter
Do you work so hard that it’s difficult to take a day off?
Do you believe your work or project will suffer if you are not there to manage things?
Do you think your career will suffer if your boss sees that you take time off?
Is it harder to arrange a holiday than to simply turn up to work every day?
Do feelings of guilt feature at the thought of taking time off?

If you agree, let this be a warning: you need a break

The body doesn’t cope well with stress; it puts a strain on your body and puts you at risk of ill health – it reduces its ability to fight infection, maintain vital functions and the ability to avoid accidents. When stressed, sleep patterns and digestion suffer. Becoming over-tired and stressed not only takes its toll on the physical body but affects your mental faculties too. You become irritable, anxious or depressed and the ability to make decisions become problematic. Relationships begin to suffer too as others avoid your tension leaving you more isolated and lonely which leads to depression. 

We all know that taking a holiday is good for you but do employers benefit? Researchers agree that employees who take a break have lower levels of job stress and burnout. Research shows that not only are holidays good for you but that they also increase productivity and that means it’s good for employers, business and your career. Taking breaks immediately make people feel healthier, cholesterol levels reduce and physical complaints lessen. After taking a holiday, you are less tense and stressed, and are more likely to be in a good mood and have higher energy levels on your return.

Richard Branson has implemented a new vacation policy – that there is no policy. He permits his staff to take time off whenever they want to for a long as they want. He doesn’t want them to ask for approval or to monitor their days away from the office. He believes there is a benefit in giving freedom and responsibility to the employee to decide as and when they need a break and trusts they will only do it when they’ve made sufficient plans not to jeopardise the business or their careers. Branson wants to focus on what people get done, not how many hours they have worked.  At a company level absenteeism is lower for reasons other than physical health after employees had taken a break compared to before and that their job tasks were viewed as less demanding compared to before they took time off.

Feelings of guilt get in the way of making sure we take a holiday, ‘When at work, I feel guilty, when on holiday I feel guilty’. If you feel guilty at spending too much time at work and feel guilty at taking holidays then you are distressed about taking a trip, there may be something else holding you back. Unconsciously you might believe you need to be all things to all people but this exacerbates despair and distress leaving you unable to fully relax.

And what if you can’t afford an annual holiday or you miss out because the challenges of daily life are too great? Whether you are unemployed, a low earner or struggling with ill health or disability within the family, people deserve a break from daily stressors of life. Holidays matter, our sanity depends on it! ‘Holidays Matter is a movement committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from breaks away from home. ‘The aim of Holidays Matter is to ensure equitable access to these opportunities for everyone in society – especially those who would normally be excluded.’ The family holiday association is a charity that gives families a break.

Remember, taking a holiday is a chance to relax and reconnect to loved ones, friends and with ourselves. Shared memories and time spent together from ordinary everyday activities for both children and adults help to maintain positive bonds. Holidays matter because people matter.

Bon Voyage!

If you struggle with feelings of guilt or are too stressed to take time off work, counselling could help you. Contact Deborah to find out how she might help you: email or visit her website to find out more

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