Written by Brooke Tucker-Reid
Vacation exists for a reason. Whether you have a conventional nine to five job or otherwise, we all need to take time away from the grind to re-energize and unwind. According to a recent Expedia.ca survey, 80 per cent of Canadians associated vacationing with overall happiness. Yet, nearly 10 million vacation days went unused by Canadian workers in 2015. Admittedly, I used to be part of that figure. I’ve been working fulltime for my whole career and my employment contracts have typically included two or three weeks of paid vacation. Some years, I wouldn’t take all of my vacation days, or I would end up working to some degree while I was away. Looking back, it seems a bit ridiculous so I’ve recently changed my tune and here’s why. You may actually live longer Health experts say that by vacationing at least once every two years, you decrease your risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks. Vacations also allow us some free time to exercise whether you’re swimming, skiing or walking while sightseeing. Relax from (fore)head to toe Vacations help us relax our bodies and minds. How do I know? Well I’ve started to notice a trend in my forehead. When I’m stressed and busy at work, a constant line seems to form between my eyebrows. When I go on vacation, that line miraculously diminishes within a few days. Need I say more? Give your travel companions your full attention During a busy work week, I occasionally find myself working in the evening while my family is home. It makes me feel guilty but getting a little work done at home helps me find balance. So when we go on vacation together, I promise myself that my family will receive 100 per cent of my attention. Vacations give us the opportunity to reconnect and make happy memories. Before you go on your next vacation, set yourself up for success by letting your colleagues know you won’t be working while you’re off. Set your out of office notifications on your phone and email. Try not to bring your company-issued laptop or mobile device. If you have to bring them, limit the time you login to after your family has gone to bed. This can be nerve-racking but if you’ve prepared your colleagues, they should be able to handle any issues while you’re off. I know first-hand how hard it can be to unplug on vacation. Try it and let us know how you feel afterwards!