While we are working from home week in and week out, the lines between personal and professional time blur together like the days of the week. In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself thinking “Oh great it’s Monday” only, surprise! it’s actually Thursday! (this has happened more than once). I find myself logging in earlier, and sending emails later, and checking my inbox when I’m walking the dog, reading the chats from my Microsoft Teams app on my phone while making a meal, and overall just obsessing about work way more than I should.
Now, like most Americans, I have nowhere to be at the moment. The only place I can be is home. But after overthinking if I should ask for a day off while simultaneously thinking about what I would even do with the time, I logged 8 hours of paid time off (PTO). Let me tell you, dear reader, it was a well allocated resource, and I hope I can inspire you to put your time off to good use too.
- Because it’s yours: Do you feel bad spending your paycheck? Whether it be for groceries for your family, sweat pants for yourself, a new front door for your house, do you ever think, “I wonder what work would think about me spending my money this way?” Nope. And PTO is much the same. It is built into your salary and is yours to use, and just like your money, you can use it on the big-ticket vacations, or on the every day Target run.
- To avoid burn out: while we’re working longer and harder, there’s seemingly always something to worry about or something that needs to get done. We’re pushing our bodies and our minds well into the danger zone where we get less work done, so taking this mindful break gives the rest our brains need to be effective employees. My day of rest inspired this blog post, so not to toot my idea’s horn here, but toot toot.
- To focus on something else: The past few months of working from home have run us all ragged. I know I should clean the kitchen and fold the laundry, but sometimes I’m too tired to get all the chores done at the end of the day when I log off for the day. My kitchen, my floors, and my closet are very grateful I took the day to pay attention to them instead.
- Because it feels really great: A lot of the news today is disheartening, we can’t go anywhere, hug our friends, watch a ballgame…we need to practice some selfcare. Taking a day for you may not be a day at the beach, but the beaches aren’t as accessible for all of us anymore, so it’s practically the next best thing, right?
Coming back to work refreshed and re-centered will reap great rewards for both yourself and your coworkers. If we don’t take time off, if we’re constantly working and never taking a break, our brains will actually lose the ability to relax. That’s quite a dire implication of “use it or lose it.” So, do it for yourself–and also for us—Take. That. Day. Off.
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