Why booking a holiday is good for your health

If you’re among the 2.4 million Aussies working full-time who haven’t taken a break in over a year, it’s time you booked your next holiday.

We’ve always known we're hard-working bunch, and now we have the data to prove it! New research by Booking.com reveals a staggering 86 percent of full-time employees are experiencing burnout because they don’t take enough annual leave.

While you might feel that you can’t afford the time off, unfaltering dedication to your desk doesn’t always pay dividends – for you or your employer. “It’s important to keep your work and life balanced,” says wellness coach, Andi Lew. “Taking time to disconnect from your job over a few short days lets you come back feeling rejuvenated.” Still not convinced? Read on to learn how to make time for a holiday, even when you think you can't...

Start small

A long trip can seem like just the ticket – but isn’t always realistic. If you really can’t take a long chunk of time off, one or two days tacked onto a weekend is a good compromise. “Taking a holiday doesn’t have to be far away and expensive. Try looking for local or domestic experiences that you can have over a long weekend,” says Andi. “To spur creativity, try something you wouldn’t normally do and explore the local gems of your city – change is as good as a holiday!”

Beat burnout

The research also shows that over a third of respondents experienced a frequent loss of concentration, took more sick days and had a poorer diet when they felt exhausted by work. This directly equates to less productivity. Healthy Life naturopath, Marissa Malvaso warns that you’ll also be at the risk of adrenal fatigue if you don’t get your work/life balance in check. “Stress can produce a biological response. It places a significant load on all the organ’s systems and it can make you physically sick,” she says. Try scheduling important activities and days in advance as much as you can to avoid burnout to keep your life balanced. “Be proactive instead of reactive in your approach to taking time out for yourself,” suggests Andi. This shift in attitude could make all the difference.

Sell it to your boss

We’ve all felt awkward about asking for time off, especially during a busy period. If your boss is reluctant to let you take leave, try reasoning with them. Ultimately, they will want what is best for you, because when you’re happy and refreshed, your output will be much better. “Sell the benefits to your boss,” suggests Andi. Tell them why you need this break and what’s in it for them. “Say, ‘I am going to switch off and disconnect so when I come back to work I’ll be all systems firing.’”

Tackle internal guilt

If you need to convince yourself, start making a mental list of the things that are a must-do and things you can offload to someone else. Remember, relaxing is just as important as working. “You aren’t indispensable. Health is your number one priority. If you don’t look after yourself now, you’ll pay for it down the track,” warns Marissa. If you're travelling with a partner, think about the all the benefits they'll enjoy from a weekend away, too!

While you're at it...

Why not challenge yourself and cut down on your screen time, too? “Take the opportunity to eliminate it an hour before bed,” says Marissa, “The blue light from your screens can really affect your sleeping patterns.” Can’t seem to tear yourself away? At least try to cut down your consumption. “If you must check emails, schedule in times during the day. Allow yourself to switch off but come back to screen time with more purpose,” advises Andi. Your body will thank you for it.

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