It’s a dilemma we’ve all faced: We know our team is short-staffed, or things are busier and more frantic than usual, but we’re feeling exhausted, and maybe our thinking isn’t as clear as it should be. Everything is stressful, and we’re not sleeping well because of it, and we just don’t know what to do.
The best thing you can do if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stretched too thin, overworked, and/or just plain exhausted? Take time off.
That might sound counterintuitive, but it’s true: Taking time off, whether it’s a long weekend or a full week away (or more!), is the best way to recharge yourself, refresh your brain, de-stress, and give yourself a chance to lower your shoulders, unclench your jaw and come back as a better, fresher, more reliable and helpful person to your colleagues.
Here’s why taking time off is important and how it helps.
Free Your Mind
Taking a day or week off from work won’t help you unlock the Matrix like it did for Neo in that movie, but it will allow your brain to relax. Our brains get tired and overworked, just like our muscles from strenuous exercise, and they need to rest. Spending your brain energy doing something different from work — reading a book unrelated to your job, for example, or looking at new scenery, watching movies, having fun conversations — is like giving your brain a good, healthy meal and drinking enough water. It refreshes and recharges your mind, allowing it to think more clearly and faster than when it was processing too much for too long. This also helps you sleep better! And a mental break afforded by a vacation can help you think more creatively and solve problems faster.
Help your body
Working in healthcare likely means you’re on your feet for hours on end, rushing here and there, moving equipment, helping patients move around, and always on the go. That can make you more tired at the end of the day than usual, especially if you don’t get a break or can’t squeeze in a decent meal during your lunch. Taking time off gives you a chance to focus on your own health! Give your feet a break; maybe schedule a massage to pamper yourself a little. As much as your brain is overworked, your body is too, and it could use some time off to actually relax and allow it to heal itself. Working in a high-stress environment takes a real toll on a person, and this has been a long year already. Why not take a break? Rest is so important!
Your overall outlook on life
When people get tired, stressed, feel overworked, or aren’t taking good care of themselves, they might feel a little down. They might get depressed. They might lose their temper more easily or get short with people for no real reason. All of that adds up and takes a toll on your mental health and well-being. We need stimulation in our lives outside of work in order to keep our souls and minds fulfilled and happy. Taking that break away from work for a few days helps reconnect with yourself as a person and not just a professional. It gives you a chance to do something just for you, whether that’s going away on a trip, reading that book you’ve had your eye on, listening to your favorite music for a long stretch of time, lingering over a good cup of coffee or tea, even making the time to see friends and catch up after a long absence. Our lives are meant to be more than just work, but it’s hard to find the time when you’re juggling work and personal responsibilities. You’re worth it!
Things might be crazy right now, but if you have vacation time owed to you as part of your salary and benefits package, talk to your supervisor about taking a few days to recharge and refresh. They’ll understand that a relaxed you is a happier you, one that’s more energized and ready to meet the demands of your healthcare environment and be a better caregiver to your patients. It’s a win for everyone!
If your supervisor won’t hear of you taking time off, it might be time to make a change. AMEA Healthcare is eager to help you find a new job where you’ll be valued and your time will be respected. Take a look at the jobs we’re currently working to fill, and then give us a call so we can start the process of passing your resume along. Give yourself a break — and a new job!