3 Guilt-free Reasons for Taking Time-off from Work

Struggling to decide whether you should take leave and risk being perceived as a 'slacker'? Here are some guilt-free suggestions to help you get the rest that you deserve.

By: Alythea Ho

Holiday season may be just around the corner, but not everyone’s jumping onboard the vacation wagon like sleep-deprived bunnies. In fact, nearly half of Singapore workers say one of their biggest work fears is offending the boss.

John de Graaf, executive director of Take Back Your Time, an organization focused on challenging the epidemic of overwork, believes many employees often fear their workplace absence will be judged negatively.

"You have this kind of fear of not wanting to be seen as a slacker," says de Graaf to the BusinessNewsDaily.

However, studies have repeatedly shown that long-term chronic stress will negatively affect your health and performance. So how do you go about overcoming those false 'guilty' feelings of being a freeloader who doesn't earn his or her keep at work?

One approach to consider is the 'Remove and Replace' principle -- to remove any negative habit or thought pattern, one needs to replace it with a positive habit or thought pattern.

So to help you get started, here are three positive (and guilt-free!) reasons to assist you in making the decision to get some much deserved rest:

1. Rediscover your Career Passion

Being successful and passionate at what you choose often requires regular personal reflection and exploration. To do so means you’ll need to step away from the day-to-day to gain some perspective.

Go on a vacation to rediscover your passion for work. Better still, take a sabbatical from work. When you do, spend some time to honestly answer questions like these:

• What makes me happy?
• How would people who know me describe me?
• What are my core values in life?
• How would I define success, and what do I want to be known for?
• What am I good at, and what do I hate?

With this, you should have a starting foundation for evaluating your current life situation and be in a better position to discover what you’re really passionate about and good at.

2. Sharpen your Saw

Steven Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, coined a popular phrase ‘Sharpening the Saw’, better known as the seventh habit. This habit basically suggests that you should preserve and enhance the greatest asset that you could ever own -- you.

When you regularly set aside time to renew the physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of your life, you greatly increase your capacity to manage difficult challenges around you. Otherwise, you may find yourself struggling with weakness, insensitivity, selfishness, and a sense of emptiness when life starts tossing lemons along your way.

While sharpening your saw doesn’t happen magically overnight, you can start by taking a well-deserved vacation to rest and rejuvenate. From there, you could start planning in pockets of rest into your schedule so you can embark on the lifelong journey of investing in you.

3. Rekindle relationships

Unless you’re living on no-man’s island, you can’t run away from relationships. Yet in a recent JobsCentral poll, just 9 per cent of respondents said that they would welcome an early retirement because they would have more time with their loved ones.

Let’s admit: we all want to be happy. And studies show that good relationships are central to one’s happiness and well-being. A group of researchers even found that shared family memories and time spent together away from routine activities like work help promote positive ties.

So go ahead and take a well-deserved vacation. By investing in better relationships and a better you, you might just well be on your way to leaving a lasting legacy for others. And remember: you don’t have to be rich or famous to leave a good legacy behind.

Do you struggle with the thought of taking leave from work? Share with us in the comment box below!

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