Remember back when you were a kid and literally the best day of your year was that last day of school? Unless you, as an adult, have chosen a career of teaching, those days of summer vacation are likely a mere memory that you look back upon with great fondness.

A popular trend these days (and, frankly, one that I am totally in support of) with some businesses is to make it mandatory for employees to take, at least, a short amount of time off during the summer months. This actually gives employees a chance to get away, get their minds off of work, and relax. To the company’s advantage, those employees return to work after their vacations feeling refreshed and more focused than before.

So often when the topic of vacation comes up in conversation, there is always someone who talks about how they just have too much work already on their plates to even consider taking any time off. Truth be told, those are usually the people who need the time away the most. Although it may seem like powering through it all is the best idea, its also how major burnouts occur. If all you’re doing is focusing on work 24/7, things are never going to get better until you give yourself an opportunity to take a true break from everything.

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How To Make The Most Of Your Time Off

01. Use it as a chance to take your mind off of all your stress

Work is stressful – it’s as simple as that. When things start to get overwhelming, we have a tendency to start checking out. Giving yourself the opportunity to take yourself away from all of the stress provides you a much need break for relaxing and truly refocusing on the things that really matter. It may seem logical to power through your work, but what your break really needs is a chance to rest. Do what’s best for your well-being and allow yourself to step back every once in a while.

02. Spend time with family and those who love you

For most of us, spending time with those that love us can really be very refreshing. When we are hyper focused on our work and things that we need to be doing, it can be extremely easy to forget the lives of others and how we affect them. If you aren’t careful, that stress that you are under at work starts to affect the way you act at home as well. By separating your two domains (your work world and your home world), you will find that you are much more at peace in not only one but both areas.

03. Do things for yourself rather than because you have to for work

When you no longer have a packed schedule or an agenda for the day, it’s suddenly much easier to focus on yourself and what is best for your own personal well being. When you’re doing work so that you can pay the bills, it’s understandable that sometimes you get wrapped up in doing what you have to do. However, when you’re on vacation, you have no excuse! Use your time off to focus on yourself, relaxing, and enjoying yourself. You don’t get the opportunity too often, so make the most of your time while you really can.

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04. Go out of your way to make sure that everything you do is as guilt-free as possible

A vacation is a chance to enjoy yourself, right? You spend enough time second guessing your choices or stressing over your decisions. A vacation is a time to truly let go of those restraints and simply allow yourself to enjoy your time. Would you usually restrict yourself and always say no to desserts? Well, when you’re on vacation it’s easier to just enjoy that dessert than to stress and beat yourself up over it. Do you usually wake up with the sun? Sleep a little later. Not only will you feel refreshed afterward, but it’ll be an extra treat since you don’t often get to do it. The trick? Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about what you want.

05. When you do return, attune yourself to how focused and useful you feel

Actually, one of the most enjoyable things about vacations can be your return to normalcy. When you have been on vacation, you tend to miss the schedules and tasks that you once dreaded. Once you’re back at things, you will feel more refreshed, more focused, and likely more useful. Harness that energy and use it to your advantage. It’s not always easy to feel so motivated so be sure to make the most of it. Better yet, go ahead and schedule that next vacation that way you have something to look forward to! Studies have actually shown that employees are productive right before a vacation too, so what do you have to lose!?

Do you usually take vacations? What do you do and how do you feel after them?