Your parents or grandparents may have lived in an age where simple hard work was the best way to achieve success in their careers, but times are changing. It used to be true that if you worked hard, you were guaranteed to succeed, and this kind of work ethic has certainly built the economy that we all enjoy today. Fortunately or unfortunately however, these days are all but over. Running a business 364 days a year for 35+ years straight or sticking with a single company for your whole adult life to work your way up through the ranks are more often than not, ways of the past. Today, when it comes to work ethic, it’s about quality over quantity and that means taking time to make sure that you YOU are at your best.
It is common knowledge now that stress and overworking can lead to physical health problems. In the past, letting stress get the better of you would have been seen as a weakness, but with modern medicine we now know that stress can be a serious contributor to negative health. Taking time to relax, both after work and on your vacation days, will lead you to be more productive when you do work. In fact, the benefits of taking time to relax and recover from a busy work life are becoming so well documented that a law was recently put forward in Japan to make it mandatory to take a certain number of days off. This law does not have to do with employers being required to provide their employees with a certain number of vacation days, but rather with requiring employees to actually use a certain number of those days off that they are given. Time off is important and the benefits are becoming more and more widely known.
While reduced stress levels will benefit you physically and improve your productivity, knowing that you are able to regularly enjoy relaxing vacations will allow you to appreciate the lifestyle that you have overall. Stress could be a complete non-issue for you at your job and your day to day life could be relatively stress-free. But if you don’t have vacations to look forward to and enjoy, your happiness won’t be at the level that it could be and this could affect all aspects of your life. Taking time off to physically rest your body is important but so is associating your life overall with consistent and enjoyable holidays.
With all this being said, it is important to remember that your time off should actually allow you to have time to yourself. Taking holidays are one thing, but with family commitments and children around it is often easy to lose track of your own need to just relax. Make sure you get time away from work and that you use that time to focus on things that you like to do. You will enjoy it now and you will thank yourself for it later.
Life is not all about retirement and you do not need to be waiting around until your 70s to take a break. Working hard and saving is important, but so is enjoying the ride and taking time for you!