Remember that Corner Gas episode where Brent takes a vacation but doesn’t actually leave Dog River? He sets up his lawn chair in front of the Ruby Cafe, sends postcards to his friends “at home” and, of course, hilarity ensues. It was Brent who first coined the term ‘staycation’ and despite not actually travelling anywhere, he was definitely on to something.
Taking time away from work, whether you think you need to or not, is an important way of re-charging your batteries. It may even help provide a new perspective on that challenging problem or project that has been lingering on the side of your desk. This doesn’t mean you need to jump on the next plane to somewhere tropical (although a little fun-in-the-sun is typically, well, fun), simply enjoying some time unplugged and not thinking about work can be of benefit to your health, including:
- Relieving stress: several studies have shown the link between stress and poorer physical and mental health, including headaches, cardiovascular disease, cancer, anxiety, depression and poor sleep habits;
- Improving mental skills: a well-rested mind that is free from worry is often more effective;
- Improving physical health: time away from work often increases opportunities for engaging in physical activity and preparing healthy meals, which can result in longer and more restful sleep;
- Strengthening family times: spending time with loved ones reminds you of who and what’s important in your life;
- Enjoying life: not being at work leaves you time to meet new people and (re)connect with that which brings you joy.
So, regardless if it’s only for a day or two, unplug and find a way to take a vacation, even if you don’t actually leave your backyard!
Julie Adams is a policy analyst at the BC Ministry of Health. She focusses on mental health promotion. She works to improve the mental health of all British Columbians, including those that are currently living with a mental illness and those who are currently not.