The last two years have been long and stressful! First, we dealt with ensuring the health and safety of personnel. Today, supply chain disruptions and labor shortages dominate leadership conversations. Everyone I talk with is incredibly busy with work.
Are you mentally fatigued? Are your personnel at their breaking point? It seems today more than ever we hear about mental health and its impact on employees and their families. Great employers want to help. Therefore, they are offering personnel resources such as meditation courses, in-office yoga classes, virtual counseling and mindfulness apps for mental health treatment. Such perks are helpful, but they’re no substitute for a restorative stretch time off.
When I polled my Linkedin followers on their vacation habits, the majority responded that they only take scattered days off when using their personal time. And some people do not have anyone to fill their shoes, so they are letting vacation days go unused.
I was surprised that most people did not take a week off to unplug. In a leadership course I took at Case Western Reserve University, the professor shared findings that leaders need a minimum of a week off once a year for rest and renewal.
Taking time for vacation may just be what the doctor ordered for rejuvenation of mind and body. Not only have leaders been under extreme pressure, but so have employees. Think about the last two years. Most of us have not traveled for pleasure. And a lot of people have been under incredible stress with no outlet. No wonder we are all mentally fatigued or experiencing anxiety!
Encourage all your personnel to take their personal time this year. Let’s see if time to unplug is what everyone needs.
Back to the Basics
Now, I understand that there are some people who, quite understandably, are not ready to be in a crowd. So, how about a camping trip? Chase fireflies at dusk in bare feet. By having your feet in the grass, touching the earth, you will feel more grounded. There is nothing like acting like a kid, running and giggling, to relieve a stressful day. Eat hot dogs cooked over a campfire. Create new s’more recipes by trading the Hershey bar for a Reese’s cup. Enjoy being with your family and friends in nature, soaking in the sites and breathing in fresh air. I am ready to pack the car. How about you?
Learn Something New
Feeling stuck? A new hobby could be just what you need to spark curiosity and fuel your fire. A fellow Penn State board member told me she was going to Italy for a writing retreat. What a great way to explore the world while learning a new skill. Sign me up!
Take a Vacation
Our oldest son is named after Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Our youngest son is named after the Carson River in Nevada. Jackson has gotten to visit his “hole.” However, I have spent years trying to plan Carson’s trip. We are finally making the trip! What’s on the agenda? A lot of outdoor time: fishing, hot springs, hiking, and rafting. In addition, friends have made arrangements so that we can tour the University of Oregon athletic department and the Nike employee shoe store.
When we plan our vacations, we try to have a mix of things that the whole family will enjoy. It is our time to unwind from the busy day-to-day rat race. We escape and learn about a new area and do what the locals do and eat where the locals eat. You don’t need to travel our way, but make sure you go do something that makes you happy.
And, what about all that work that is piling up at the office while you are gone? I don’t know about you, but before a vacation, I am very effective at cleaning off my desk and minimizing the tasks in my inbox. Anything that I could not complete I ask another person to handle in my absence. In addition, I check my inbox each morning to see if there is anything urgent, nut stay off the phone and out of the inbox the rest of the day!. I let the non-urgent tasks wait for my return. It only takes a day or two to get back in the saddle after vacation because you have renewed vigor and energy.
No matter what escape route you chose, the memories and photos will last a lifetime. The most important part is to ensure you unplug (literally) so that you can be fully present in the moment enjoying the simple pleasures life has to offer.
What memories are you going to make this summer?