Elle’s Edit: Why It Is Important To Take Your Vacation Days

As we approach August, I am realizing how I barely took any vacation days this year.

How is it almost September? Part of me feels like March was forever ago but at the same time I feel like I just blinked and those months in between just disappeared. What about you? Anyways, I realized I have only taken 2 vacation days this entire year and I did that recently. Given that vacation days don’t roll over to the upcoming year, I realized I need to start using them. Part of me feels guilty for using a vacation day because what on earth would I do? You can’t really travel, you should still be social distancing from your friends, and the world just isn’t how it should be to take a full vacation day. I know I am wrong and I need to realize that despite life still being pretty weird my mental health is important and I need a break. Over the past couple of months I’ve been working about 80-90 hour weeks/weekends and it constantly is just work all the time. Even on Saturdays and Sundays..they feel like a day during the week. With that being said, I am trying to plan out the remainder of my vacation days and even though I won’t be able to use them all (I can’t take off like weeks at a time obviously) but I am planning “me” days and then pure vacation time during Thanksgiving and Christmas to enjoy it at home with my family.

Everyone is entitled to use their vacation days and that is why they are given to us. Every company is different and how they track vacation days and I truly believe it makes a real difference. My first company you would have to put your vacation days in a computer system and I thought I was being babysat all the time. The next company I worked for you were entitled to “unlimited” vacation days and I realized that was the most unfair thing in the world depending on what team you were placed on. And in my current company it is more of keeping track of your own but getting manager approval. I find this to be an okay balance between having the freedom of taking your days but at the end of the day I hate people that cheat the system and so many people do. I on one hand who work all the time and even on the weekends but other people can take more than their allotted days because they are “tracking” it on their own. It’s BS and I don’t think there is an easy solve. What I realized over the past couple of years is that I just need to be loyal to myself and my manager and do what I am supposed to do and that is taking my allotted time and actually using it.

Taking a day off is SO good for your mental state only if you really take a day off. I am notorious for taking time off but having my work phone with me at all times where I constantly check emails and texts from people that I work with. The always on mentality is exhausting and I’m well aware that it isn’t healthy nor sustainable. I am starting to make a promise to myself that when I take off time I’m taking it off. The 200+ emails I receive a day can wait until I’m back at work. Another aspect of taking off some time is just not thinking about work. Don’t think of your to-do list or the things you need to do when you get back. Why? Well it defeats the purpose of taking a break. Try to keep busy during your day off to help your mind think of other stuff OR if you desperately need a relaxing day force yourself to truly relax.

Moral of the story is to please use your vacation days and do not feel guilty using them. Luckily we have 4.5 months where it can be used and you can do it. Now go ahead, put that OOO on your calendar and have yourself a day that you deserve and earned.

Have you been good with taking your vacation days?

Thanks for reading Elle’s Edit. If you have any topics that you would like for me to discuss, feel free to email me at elizabeth.lane.dooley@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you! xo

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