When we're lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the world, sometimes it's hard to motivate to pack up and go anywhere else.
If you do live in a nice spot then maybe a staycation will be enough to recharge the batteries. But taking a break in-situ requires the self discipline to drop our usual routine, ignore our deadlines, our laundry baskets and our to-do lists. Not everyone finds this easy.
That's why physically removing ourselves from our responsibilities can help. When my children were small and long distance travel felt too hard, a couple of times a year we would often pack the car and drive to a holiday house just a 30 minute drive away. This felt a bit silly the first time but within hours of arriving we were in holiday mode. The weak wifi and water views definitely helped.
Research shows spending even 10 minutes in nature has brain benefits. Plus going somewhere new and less familiar has been shown to boost mindfulness by forcing us to be fully present to our new surrounds.
Research shows spending even 10 minutes in nature has brain benefits.
Taking regular vacations has also been shown to lower stress, improve heart health, foster better relationships plus boost our mood and motivation, creativity and productivity and overall wellbeing.
The famous US Framingham Study showed women who took less than one holiday every six years were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or coronary death than women who took a couple of breaks each year. Men who took less vacations were also shown to have increased risk of coronary disease.
And yet the latest figures from Roy Morgan research showed that Australians in paid employment had more than 151 million days worth of annual leave owed to them when Australia entered shut down at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic in March last year.
This is about 16 days per worker. Only 10 per cent of Australia's paid workers had no annual leave owing compared with 21 per cent who had at least five weeks of unused annual leave.
The effects of the great slow 2020 down on our annual leave balances still remains to be seen. Some Australians may have been forced to take unplanned leave. Some of us may be saving it up for an extended break when international borders reopen and more certain times return.
Others may be feeling better work life balance or less exhaustion now they are working from home. Or perhaps the working from home has blurred the boundaries making us always contactable and permanently in work mode.
Whatever situation we find ourselves in it's worth remembering the old adage, "you can't afford not to take a break". Even if it's just couple of days up the road.