Relax and Float
I am returning from a relaxing and laid back trip I took to the Southern California region, and I must admit it's been a nice respite to be able to chill out for a few days with my friends and do...nothing. I would be misrepresenting myself if I said I did absolutely nothing, but I can tell you that I did as little as possible.
Relaxation will take on a different look for each person, but it is critical to take that step back in order to maintain some semblance of sanity. I have spoken to a couple of my friends who are completely burned out, and their companies are even advising that they will lose their vacation days if they don't utilize them by the end of the year! This does not perplex me at all, because I worked in many environments and companies where tremendous lip service was given to respecting "work life balance," but to that point, it was just lip service. If anybody took any days off, when they returned they were overwhelmed by the work they had before they left, and additional work that was added to their plate while they were away. That doesn't make an employee feel good about leaving, when they know they will be penalized upon their return, by being inundated by work that was added while they were away.
R&R is an important time for us to be able to clear our minds, and refresh our bodies and spirits. While traveling is by no means the only way to get this much needed down time, it is one of the most beneficial to our psyche. When left to our own devices, we can say we are going to relax while we are at home; yet, the reality is that few of us do. Many people take that opportunity to repaint their homes; redo the siding on their homes, and other tasks that, while important, I wouldn't categorize as "relaxation."
Even though I didn't go away somewhere exotic (no offense to Southern California) and unknown to me; it was the much needed away time I needed to refresh my mind, in order to finish out this year on track to kick into gear for 2013! The removal of my day-to-day activities allowed me the opportunity to sit back and brainstorm some ideas for my business endeavors for next year. Also, being around my friends, I was able to bounce ideas off of people who really "get me" and are supportive in my efforts.
Hopefully your company isn't mandating you to take days off, because I hope you have been refreshing your spirit throughout the year, but if you haven't been able to do that, and your company is threatening to take your time away, please do something good to and for yourself and - Relax & Float.
*Photo taken by Stuart Miles and obtained from freedigitalphotos.net