Taking leave, even during lockdown…
For many of us leave means: Going somewhere. With the various lockdowns all over the world, these breakaways had to be cancelled or postponed which resulted in a number of us not having a single scheduled break since the beginning of the lockdown. Is that healthy?
Medical doctors have seen an increase in the number of people that suffer from burnout. And no wonder! In many households, the lockdown did not only result in a work from home approach, but it brought along a variety of additional responsibilities. All of a sudden you became teacher, housekeeper, gardener, cook, and many more… Working hours also increased during the lock-down – there is no longer a need to travel to the office and with the computer always on, it is so much easier to look at emails and work any time of the day and night.
What are the signs that might indicate that you need a break?
Do you wake up feeling tired? You might not notice it at first, but tiredness can lead to not thinking clearly, being overly clumsy or making unnecessary mistakes. When tiredness crosses over into exhaustion work burnout can occur. Signs of a work burnout can include low job performance, low job satisfaction, decrease in communication, not caring, being cynical and resisting any change in the work and home environment.
- Health problems
Too much stress can lead to a weak immune system so you get sick more often. Stress can also affect your ability to deal with existing chronic disease symptoms like high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Cortisol, the stress hormone, tends to increase blood sugar and blood pressure. It is thus not appropriate to merely ask for medication to decrease your blood sugar or blood pressure, but to rather explore the underlying cause.
- Your workload becomes unbearable
This can happen for two reasons:
When you continually do more than expected, others may assume you can or want to do more. Therefore, you may be given even more responsibilities. Although this may seem flattering, it can lead to an unhealthy imbalance.
When we are tired, we become much slower. Problem is that we do not realise this; all we notice is that the workload has become unbearable.
- Strained relations
Somehow you need to let of steam…and those closest to you are the ones that suffer most. When you feel that your family and friends’ needs become a burden, it is a clear sign that you need a break.
What are the benefits of taking leave?
Taking regular leave reduces stress, improves productivity and general wellbeing!
- Reduce your stress levels and health
Our bodies are not built for continuous non-stop work and stress. As much as we are looking down on the cave man, there are some lessons to learn from that life. The cave man got enough sleep, took time to socialise (around the fire!), did some work and occasionally had to fight or flight.
- Increased productivity
It has been proven that someone that is sleeping 7-9 hours per night are by far more productive that those whom have 4-6 hours of sleep. Productivity should not be measured by the hours you work, but what you manage to do in those hours. It is thus worthwhile to invest in your night’s rest and be in a position to get through your work quicker during the day.
- Better relationships at work and at home
You have to invest in a relationship for it work. And then you have to invest to maintain it. You can only find time to invest and work on a relationship when you find balance between work and life and make time to rest and recharge your batteries.
We are social creatures and do need relationships. To say: I can cope of my own is simply not true and will contribute to your overall fatigue.
- You are entitled to leave
It is your legal right to take leave. In many organisations you will forfeit your leave if you do not take it within a reasonable time. You are the only one that loses out!
I have no doubt that some of you are still not convinced: Why should I take leave and be at home during lockdown? Because you do not want to cause permanent damage to your body and mind. We all have goals and aspirations, but without rest we stand the change of never being able to reach or achieve those goals and aspirations.
Sit in the sun, read the book you never get to, have a picnic in the garden. Go, and have some rest and fun!
Balance is not something you find, but something you create. Jana Kingsford