New Year, New You! Take Some Time off To Set Yourself up for Success This Year
Goodbye 2022, and hello 2023! A new year means new changes and fresh beginnings. If 2022 sometimes felt overwhelming because of school or work, it’s important this year to create a work-life balance and take breaks or time off when needed. According to a study released by the U.S. Travel Association in 2021, American workers left an average of 33% of their paid time off on the table in 2020. Making sure you are taking personal downtime can help you have a successful year.
Why is this the case? There are plenty of benefits to taking breaks or time off from school or work. When needed, personal downtime can:
- Be good for your physical health
Too much stress can negatively impact your physical health. Research has indicated that, after taking vacations, individuals’ physical complaints and quality of sleep improved, and these benefits were still present weeks later
- Be good for your mental well-being
Skipping breaks can lead to faster burnout and higher stress levels. Studies have shown that chronic stress can make it difficult to achieve certain tasks and can cause memory problems. Breaks, even small ones, have been proven to help reduce stress. Lessening your stress levels lets both your mind and body heal, and can even boost your mood.
- Boost your productivity and benefit the workplace
According to a 2018 Tork study, workers who take a lunch break every day are more satisfied with their job, are likely to continue working at the same company, and are likely to recommend their employer to others. Not only that, but research further shows that breaks or time off increases employees’ levels of energy at work, decreases exhaustion, and enhances productivity and creativity.
This evidence makes it clear that it’s beneficial to take time off when you can. But, if you are unable to take time off or go on vacation, we advise taking breaks when needed.
When testing with Examity, you don’t have to take hours out of your day to commute to a physical location, so you’ll have more time available to take necessary breaks. And, with our 24/7 scheduling and support, you can take breaks whenever is most convenient for you.
To get the most out of these breaks, we recommend that you:
- Recognize when you need a break and plan ahead
While you’re at work or school, look for mental or physical cues that you need a break – like taking longer than usual to write an email, or tension anywhere in your body. Take planned breaks to prevent burnout and to feel refreshed. If you’re taking an exam with Examity and foresee needing a break during it, tell your test sponsor in advance – they can easily add additional breaks as an accommodation.
- Take “microbreaks”
If long breaks aren’t for you, take short breaks, or “microbreaks.” In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers found that even “microbreaks” of just a few minutes throughout the day led to improved mood and job performance.
- Take part in activities you like
During breaks, participating in activities that you enjoy can be helpful. We suggest avoiding activities that may cause stress or are mentally demanding. Instead, try involving yourself in activities that relax you, like reading or watching videos: Check out Examity’s blog and our case studies and white papers, or view our informative webinars.
After the workday is over, try to mentally disconnect from work and to set some boundaries for yourself. Our advice? If possible, don’t take work-related phone calls, and avoid checking emails after a certain time.
We hope that you are able to take the necessary breaks and time off to achieve a successful new year! If you found this article helpful or interesting, please explore Examity’s website.