Work-life balance has been a hot topic in veterinary medicine for several years. We seem to be part of a profession that attracts workaholics. While I admit to having a type “A” personality, I am amazed by the number of associates who finish each work year with unused vacation days (or owners who are chained to the practice). I have difficulty comprehending the statistic that 70% of American workers don’t use all of their vacation time each year. Overall this can be a bad situation for the business and the worker. Studies have shown that even schoolchildren perform better when they have recess time to unwind and release frustrations.
Enjoying time off does not have to equate with being lazy. The older I get, the more I prioritize my free time. While veterinary medicine is certainly not a boring career, a break from the routine can be a great way to refresh and re-energize. It is easy for owners/managers to develop the mindset that they are indispensable, even for a few days. Trust your support staff to competently operate you business in your absence for a few days! For employees looking to justify taking time off, stress increased productivity (and possibly improved relations with co-workers) after a mental break.
If you approach a vacation with the right attitude, you are bound to have a worthwhile experience. I have yet to take a vacation that I didn’t enjoy. Vacations are infinite in their possibilities—laid-back or fast-paced, exotic locales or just around the corner sites. Prioritize, and make the most of your time off, whether for a few days or a couple of weeks. Make sure that everyone participating ha input into vacation decision-making. And while things may not always work out the way you plan, if you embrace the unexpected you might even experience something more memorable!
So, really, vacations are all about attitude—have the right attitude while you are on vacation, to make the most of the mental (and physical) benefits for yourself. And when you return, reap the rewards of your renewed positive outlook, both at work and at home.