November 21, 2017 Regular holidays: why you shouldn’t skimp on your leave
When was the last time you took a holiday?
And I’m not just talking about a long weekend out of town.
I mean an actual holiday?
If you’re perpetually flat out with work and, say, family, it’s hard, I know. It’s easy to fall into the trap of putting work before yourself.
If you run your own business, it becomes even more difficult. Often, you can convince yourself that taking time off is ‘money lost’.
From my experience, the combination of too much work and too few holidays is a fast train to running yourself into the ground – I’m talking about my long stint in corporate prior to launching Orange Wealth with my brother, Jason. You just end up being constantly rundown.
Two years ago, I made a conscious decision to take regular holidays.
And not just pottering around the house for a week, either. I mean taking a genuine break.
Now, this was mainly down to starting a family.
Equally, though, it was also about safeguarding my health and wellbeing.
It wasn’t until I took a proper holiday with my young family that I realised just how much I needed to unplug from ‘work’ and recharge my batteries.
The other big realisation for me was just how much stress we carry around with us day to day without even noticing.
Leave’s a right, not a perk
Thankfully, we don’t live in the States. Your average American only gets around two weeks annual leave. There, taking time off is considered a perk, not a fundamental right. Sounds crazy, right?
Now, compare that to Australia.
Your average Australian in full-time work receives approximately four weeks’ leave.
Think about that for a second: four weeks never seems long enough, so imagine if you could only take off two each year?
If you’re not taking advantage of Australia’s relatively generous leave entitlements, the various medical research conducted around overworking and not taking adequate time out for yourself – namely holidays – speak for themselves.
All the evidence points to people becoming less and less productive and, while we often convince ourselves that we have to work long hours to get everything done, the evidence also strongly suggests that we become less creative and undermine our capacity to work effectively and efficiently.
In other words, it’s counterproductive.
The risk to your health and wellbeing
In fact, the importance of holidays to our physical and mental wellbeing shouldn’t be overlooked.
Speaking subjectively, it’s your overall health that suffers the most.
Often, when you’re working long hours, you feel perpetually run down – you’re either constantly sick or always feel like you’re on a knife edge of getting sick.
According to the medical fraternity, holidays help to reduce stress, strengthen your immune system and, perhaps more importantly, reduce risks like high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
And get this – they also argue that, for any break over two weeks that you take, your body continues to benefit from it over the following couple of months.
This has been the key for me.
Obviously, having your brother as your business partner helps, but I’ve been lucky enough to strike a near-perfect work-life balance, a big part of which has been scheduling holidays away well in advance.
Typically, Jason and I get away (at different times) for at least one week every three months.
So, for me, forcing myself to take regular holidays and actually getting away has been a revelation. I rarely get sick these days (catching an occasional cold from the kids notwithstanding) and I can honestly say I couldn’t imagine having it any other way.
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature. It does not take into consideration your personal financial circumstances. Please consult a professional financial adviser (just like us 🙂 ) when making a financial decision.