On a blustery, snowy February day, as I listen to the weather forecast and look out my office window I hear a lot of people say they've had enough of the winter weather and wish they could get away for a relaxing vacation in a nice sunny warm climate. The thing is business owners get so caught up in the work they do that they hesitate to take a break from work.
Consider, however, if you don't take a break. You become overworked, burned out, stressed, tired, suffer from insomnia, and may even feel a bit depressed if you don't enjoy the winter season. There are a lot of people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder which seems to be common in January and February. If you are overworked, stressed and tired, and don't take care of yourself, your business can also suffer because you aren't doing your best work and this affects your productivity.
Taking care of yourself and your health is just as important as taking care of your business. Studies have shown that not taking a break can hamper productivity and even increase mortality. Taking a break from work refreshes and re-energizes you and helps improve your concentration, physical fitness and your mood. I read that a study of 800 workers over 25+ years in Finland showed that by not taking breaks, the workers who didn’t take a break from their workweek were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. According to this study, if workers can't relax once in a while, plaque builds up in their arteries which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Definitely, during your workday you should take a break in the morning and afternoon and at least an hour for lunch. During your morning and afternoon breaks, leave your desk and get up and walk around. Again, studies have shown this increases circulation and improves your comfort level throughout your day. When you take your lunch break eat a healthy nourishing lunch and, again, go for a walk, and, if you have time, read a good book. Remember though, as a business owner, you still need to take a vacation.
My point is that while we are so involved in the work we do we forget or neglect to take care of ourselves. We cancel medical appointments or we just don't make an effort to have a physical check-up every year because we 'have too much to do'. There's nothing wrong with taking a break, especially taking a vacation. It's better in the long run for both you and your business. Consider whether you'd rather take a one-week vacation 3 or 4 times a year than end up getting sick and not be able work for a much longer period of time. What happens to your business if you are sick and can't work for 2 or 3 months?
When you plan your vacation, advise your customers when you will be away and for how long. Give them the name of someone they can contact if they require assistance while you are away. Delegate some responsibilities your virtual assistant can do while you're on vacation. For example, in the least, a virtual assistant check/monitor your email and voicemail while you're away; prioritize messages and contact you if anything urgent arises.
Taking a break to take care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your business. You will be refreshed, relaxed, rested, energized, and ready to get back to the work you love to do.