Last week was the traditional Fall Break week at Notre Dame. For the most part, students leave campus, take some time away from studies and roommates. Many students used the week on service trips, met friends at other schools, or traveled while others spent the week on a couch and, from appearances, seemed to accomplish nothing. What all the students have in common, is they all took time to “recharge their batteries”. Some readers may be reminiscing about their college days and wishing for the lifestyle where one could take a week to do service or travel, but the demands of life do not afford this opportunity to most readers.
For most professionals, there is no October Break in the working world. That does not mean all is lost. Individuals have different ways of recharging, from climbing a mountain to climbing into bed, but each of us has to recharge our batteries or we risk the likelihood of burnout. So the next time you take a day off, or half a day, don’t feel guilty because the benefits are numerous:
- Clarity: By taking some time away from the office, you can unclutter your mind and return to work with a fresh perspective. Have you ever been struggling with a problem, unable to figure it out, only to come back to the issue an hour later and clearly see the solution? By taking time to recharge your batteries, you will come back to your workplace, job search, studies, etc. with clarity.
- Productivity: Taking time away from work can actually make you a better employee. Being burned/stressed out reduces your efficiency. Athletes will attest to the need for recovery days in their training in order for their training to be productive. If athletes work out hard everyday, they will eventually regress in their performance because their muscles are tapped out. Your brain and body need time to recover, allowing you to return to work as a more productive individual.
- Stress and Health: When you burn a candle at both ends for too long, eventually there is nothing left. When this happens in one’s life, stress kicks in and health issues begin to arise. In February’s edition of Money Magazine, Kate Ashford highlighted some of the effects of stress (and how to combat stress). Heart disease, obesity, and the common cold were among some of the health risks related to stress. By taking a day off to recharge oneself, you may actually be avoiding future health issues.
While taking a week off and laying on a couch may not be a realistic, or desirable, way to spend your time, we can definitely learn something from college kids. Whether you are working 60 hours a week or looking for work 60 hours a week, we all need time to recharge our batteries.