Taking occasional leaves just to de-stress is underrated

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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How many times have you felt like skipping work or coming up with an excuse to bunk work? Instead, try and take occasional leaves to recharge from time to time, and enhance productivity. Here’s how it helps!

How many times have you felt that work has taken over your life? Do you feel like the hustle culture is getting to you? Is it that you want the weekend to arrive and hate the thought of all the work lined up for the upcoming week? If that’s the case, you may be in dire need of a leave. 

Like many others, you may have the usual response — “I do not have time.” But let’s just say that occasional leave or a day off can really help you recharge and instead, prepare you to be more productive. Moreover, you also need time to de-stress and there’s nothing wrong with that! 

occasional leaves
Vacations give you a short-term break which can refresh your mind. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Health Shots got in touch with Roopali Shrivastava, Consultant Counselling Psychologist at IWill to know how such occasional leaves help. Here’s what she has to say, “There are many reasons why someone may need to have time off from work. Nowadays, more employers are realizing the benefits of taking time off from work and how taking a break improves the capacity of their employees. While workplace culture is not the cause of an illness, certain cultures, especially those that require employees to work long hours in sedentary conditions, can make an illness difficult to manage.”

How can an occasional leave help?

By now, we know that our mental and physical health have an intrinsic connection. Shrivastava says that due to long working hours, if you feel that you do not get adequate sleep, or have the inability to maintain an exercise routine, and also believe you don’t have time for friends and loved ones, then your deteriorating mental health can make it hard to keep up at work.

“Taking a break can help on an individual and organisational level. By taking occasional leave, workers can reduce stress and increase happiness, which leads to increased productivity, and reduced staff turnover. The benefits of taking leave promotes good physical and mental health in the workplace and improves people’s work-life balance, which reduces stress and unscheduled days off,” she adds. 

On an individual level, occasional leave may help by reducing stress, which in turn lowers the risk of anxiety and depression, improves your mood, and may help to ease social relationships. It also helps to boost health and reduce burn out, which was officially recognised by the World Health Organisation as a workplace phenomenon in May 2019. 

occasional leaves
Give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“It increases productivity and focus, and lets you fall in love with your job again and allows you to step back, take stock, and ensure your work and life are aligned with your values and aspirations,” says Shrivastava.

What is the way forward?

  • Taking time off from work will enable employees to focus their attention on other things such as their family, friends, a hobby or even just to simply chill out on the sofa and do nothing.
  • “Having some time away from being in ‘work-mode’ enables employees to return to work refreshed with mental clarity. At school, teachers will tell you to have a break so you can gain mental clarity after writing an essay before proof-reading it – the same rule applies with work,” says Shrivastava.
  • For employers, workers taking occasional leave may help: they could improve their morale, increase productivity by having a well-rested and motivated staff, increase employee retention, and decrease unplanned absences such as sick leave. Happier, recharged people are less likely to be sick or take unexpected time off work.

“By encouraging your team to take leave, the organisation is showing that it cares about its people. This means happier, more loyal and engaged people who are motivated to help the business achieve its objectives,” concludes Shrivastava.

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