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  • Writer's pictureTarryn Long

Prioritize Your Summer Wellness: The Power of Taking Time Off for Mental Health! ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒฟ

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

With summer just around the corner, many of us are eagerly anticipating some much-needed relaxation and time away from work. But have you thought about your PTO and how it affects your mental health? Taking a break from work is not just a luxury; it's essential for our overall well-being. Let's dive in and prioritize your summer wellness!


The Importance of Taking Time Off:


Did you know that the United States has been called the "no-vacation nation"? Shockingly, over 50% of American workers leave unused vacation days on the table, according to a report by the U.S. Travel Association. This culture of skipping time off can take a toll on mental health, leading to burnout, stress, and decreased productivity. Taking time off is not just a break from work; it's an opportunity to recharge, relax, and rejuvenate, allowing us to return to work feeling refreshed and more productive.


The Mental Health Benefits:


Taking time off is a powerful way to nurture our mental health. When we step away from work, we reduce stress levels, improve our mood, and give our brains a chance to rest. Studies show that vacationing can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, enhance creativity, and boost cognitive function. In fact, a study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that taking regular vacations leads to lower levels of stress and better overall well-being.


Before you up and leave letโ€™s do a bit of a PTO Checklist. Before you start planning your summer escapades, it's essential to understand your PTO benefits. Here's a helpful checklist to guide you:

  1. Accrual and Usage: Check your company's policy to see how PTO accrues and whether there are any restrictions on how and when you can use it. Some companies have an accrual system based on hours worked, while others offer a lump sum at the beginning of the year.

  2. Use It or Lose It: Find out if your PTO has an expiration date. Some companies have a "use it or lose it" policy, which means any unused PTO will not carry over to the next year.

  3. Unlimited Vacation: If you're lucky enough to have unlimited vacation, understand what that means for you. Although it may sound dreamy, unlimited vacation policies often require careful communication and coordination with your team.

  4. Carryover Eligibility: Determine if you can carry over unused PTO to the next year. This information is crucial for planning long-term vacations and ensuring you don't miss out on precious time off.

Given summer is in full effect, let's make a conscious effort to prioritize our mental health. Taking time off is not just a luxury; it's an essential investment in our well-being and productivity.


Remember, the goal is to prioritize activities that bring you joy, peace, and relaxation. Customize your PTO experience to cater to your interests and needs, allowing you to return to work rejuvenated and refreshed.


So here's a list of activities and suggestions to help you relax and make the most of your PTO:

  1. Unplug from work: Disconnect from work-related emails, calls, and notifications to truly unwind and create a separation between work and relaxation.

  2. Explore nature: Spend time outdoors by going for a hike, taking a walk on the beach, or having a picnic in a park. Engaging with nature has a calming effect on the mind and body.

  3. Engage in a hobby: Dedicate time to activities you enjoy, such as painting, gardening, cooking, playing a musical instrument, or practicing yoga. These hobbies provide an outlet for creativity and relaxation.

  4. Read for pleasure: Pick up that book you've been meaning to read or dive into a captivating novel. Reading can transport you to different worlds and allow your mind to escape from daily stresses.

  5. Pamper yourself: Treat yourself to a spa day, indulge in a massage, or take a soothing bubble bath. Self-care activities help release tension and promote a sense of well-being.

  6. Engage in mindfulness practices: Practice meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness techniques to calm the mind and promote relaxation. Apps and guided meditation videos can be helpful tools.

  7. Spend quality time with loved ones: Connect with family and friends, whether it's through a shared meal, a fun outing, or simply enjoying meaningful conversations. Social connections contribute to our happiness and overall well-being.

  8. Travel and explore: Plan a getaway to a new destination or revisit a favorite spot. Exploring new places can provide a refreshing change of scenery and broaden your perspective.

  9. Engage in physical activity: Stay active and release endorphins through activities like jogging, cycling, swimming, or practicing yoga. Physical exercise not only promotes relaxation but also boosts mood and energy levels.

  10. Enjoy downtime: Embrace moments of doing nothing or engaging in leisurely activities like watching your favorite movies or TV shows, listening to music, or simply lounging in a comfortable space.

Understanding your PTO benefits and using them wisely can lead to reduced stress, improved mental health, and a happier, more balanced life. So, go ahead, check your PTO balance, plan that vacation, and embark on a journey to a healthier and more vibrant you! Your mind and body will thank you for it.


A healthy work-life balance is key to your overall well-being. Enjoy your well-deserved time off! ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ–๏ธ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™€๏ธ


P.S. Don't hesitate to seek professional help if you're experiencing persistent stress or mental health challenges.


ITEOM Talent Partners is a trusted partner when it comes to finding great talent. We work with hiring managers to help them identify, interview, assess and onboard great talent. Equally, we work with candidates to help them align their purpose and passion with top employers. The interview process is hugely important in making sure your candidate and employer experience is exceptional. #SBA Certified #EDWOSB Reach out at workwithus@iteomtalent.com.

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