Making Time Off Non-Negotiable
Time off is now a non-negotiable part of my family’s life.
“Andrea, you look stressed.” my mom said, as I was packing our final things into our suitcase. It was funny because I didn’t feel stressed. It took me two days into our vacation to realize that I was just so used to living at that level of stress that I now perceived it as normal. My life isn’t that crazy. My hours between work and family are where I like them to be. I have amazing people in my life who support me. We are healthy. We are happy. However, there is still a level of stress to life in general that is just enough under the radar that it doesn’t sound the alarm bells. There aren’t any red flags going up in my life to tell me to slow down. In fact, I came back to life and picked up where I left off with very few changes.
So, why am I saying time off should be non-negotiable?
Every health professional will tell you that taking breaks in our lives is crucial to our health. Time off helps to relieve stress, reduces chance of burnout, and even benefits our physical and emotional health. There are significant links between the level of stress we have in our life and almost EVERY major health condition including cancer, heart disease, depression and diabetes. Time off also allows us to reconnect to play, family, movement, laughter, and simply deciding – without any commitment – what you want to do that day.
Time off doesn’t have to mean a plane trip to a beach or ski hill. It can simply be a staycation, exploring your hometown like a tourist or a getaway within driving distance. It can also start with reclaiming your weekends. Choosing to focus on your home and family life and pushing pause on business. You will come back to work and “regular” life feeling renewed, refreshed, and ready (especially if what you’re coming back to is something that truly lights you up).
Ten years ago, I made a “time off” goal. It was simply to commit to two weeks off a year, which at the time we didn’t take. It was also that within five years to bump that up to three weeks a year and within ten years, take a week off every quarter. Last year was the first year I was able to make that happen. It was glorious. We realized how much more productive we were, how much happier we were, and how much better we felt both individually and as a family.
I’m curious…do you make time off/vacations non-negotiable?