It's a well-known fact that many Millennials feel overworked and underpaid.
We find ourselves slaving away at school or our jobs, which then leaves us mentally and physically drained by the time the weekend rolls around.
And yet, due to the pressures of our responsibilities, we find ourselves working through our treasured time off.
This principle not only applies to the new generation of workers, but anyone who has ever felt like his or her duties were getting the best of him or herself.
When did we become so immersed in work that we forgot what free time was?
Who told us that taking time away from our responsibilities would be detrimental to our futures?
And why is it that when we do step away, whether for brunch or a Netflix binge, we feel horrible about it?
We may love school, our jobs and all of our hobbies, but we still need time away from them. And there's a good reason why.
I had a wise mentor tell me once that amidst 60-hour work weeks, he still managed to take one day away from work completely.
No work calls, no checking emails, no responses to text messages, but rather a full day off to spend with his family, fully engaged with just living, rather than working.
This mentor of mine is the vice president of digital marketing for a well-known retailer we all shop at, and if he can take a day off without repercussions, so can we.
He told me this was an essential part of his happiness and sanity.
Why, you ask? Shutting your brain off, if even for a day, will do amazing things for your body.
I know you may be thinking to yourself, "I can't go a full day without checking my work email," or, “I’ll get so far behind if I don’t work every day.”
But I can assure you, this break is better for your well-being and productivity than working is.
Realistically, the truth is this: You can only sprint for so long before you begin to slow down.
Taking a break actually makes you more productive than if you never stopped at all.
Rather than exhausting all of your energy steadily, doing it in bursts and taking rests in between is much more effective and helps you to stay on track.
According to a Businessweek report, vacation deprivation has been known to increase mistakes and resentment toward coworkers.
Wouldn’t you rather be happy and accurate than forgetful and angry?
Francine Lederer, an LA based psychologist says, "Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out."
Taking your mind off deadlines and investing that energy into spending the day relaxing with friends and family will leave you feeling energized and refreshed for the upcoming workdays.
When your brain finally has a chance to recover and take it all in, positive things begin to happen both physically and mentally:
You become more creative.
When you are relaxed, your mind has more energy to wander.
Because of this, creative ideas will flow more freely and your imagination will become rejuvenated.
This spark of creativity can then be used to enhance your work projects or may even lead to new hobbies.
You are more in touch with your responsibilities.
When you step away from all you have on your plate, it becomes easier to see the big picture.
Your brain will not be clouded with all of your little tasks, and you can make yourself a clear “to-do” list with everything important you need to tackle.
You will work harder knowing you have a fresh start.
It’s no surprise that people tend to work harder after vacations.
You may have gained a new perspective on life, or merely relaxed enough to be ready to tackle your projects headfirst.
This newfound motivation will be your best friend in getting you through the next work week.
You will feel less stressed.
Lastly (and most importantly), allowing your brain to rest will help ease your stress.
The brain is at the center of all we do, and if it is constantly working, stress will begin to take over your thoughts.
This stress can then lead to physical and mental complications, which could all be avoided with some much-deserved downtime.
Next time you’re overwhelmed, remember that it is perfectly okay to take it easy.
I challenge you to shut down everything: work emails, text messages, phone calls and even opening documents on your computer.
Take this time to relax, rejuvenate your mind and allow yourself a fresh start.
And, no feeling guilty either; you aren't missing a beat. In fact, your employer may even note how much your productivity has improved.