As we all sit in the middle of the European Vacation time, there was an old training saying that came to mind … Winter miles equals Summer Smiles. The basis of the saying is that the more training miles you can clock up during the winter, the fitter you will be in the Summer when the racing happens. So it got me thinking to the professional within us and the fact that our smiles are really based on the levels of stress, the level of mental strength we have as well. So taking that well earned break during the summer really does provide the basis of Winter Smiles. Reversing the saying … it is the summer miles that we take as in vacation and relaxation time that really brings us Winter Smiles.
During the school, we all took a three-month long vacation from school during the summer. Now our work life typically provides us with two to three weeks off during the course of an entire year. But fewer of us are taking the full benefits of the summer vacation time. Taking time off from work, away from mail and without any access to any level of work information, allows the body to replenish and repair itself. Leisure activities contribute to higher positive emotional levels, lower levels of stress, less depression, lower blood pressure and even a happier demeanor. Let me put it this way … get those Summer Miles under your belt and getting away from the work environment can lead to the Winter Smiles.
So what a the Winter Smiles that we refer to here … these are some of the things that we want to manage within the work environment by taking those nice lengthy summer breaks:
- Relieve stress: – The very first benefit of leaving everything behind and relieving your brain of all your worries is reduced stress. Several studies have shown a direct link between stress and health conditions such as headaches and other types of infections acquired as a result of a weaker immune system. It has also been established that taking vacations reduces the incidence of burnout. Relief from stress often gives us a new perspective on life, allows us to regain energy and often to find simple and sometimes obvious solutions to problems that had previously seemed impossible to solve.
- Improve your mental skills: – Some studies have found a positive relationship between vacations and intellectual function. A well-rested mind that is free of worry is often more effective. Keep in mind that taking a vacation can actually benefit your work when you return. Taking regular breaks can boost your productivity and creativity. It can also improve your long-term vision as getting away for a while sometimes brings clarity to a problem you may have been mulling over for weeks.
- Improve your physical health: – Besides getting you away from daily stressors, a summer break often gives you the opportunity to catch up on sleep and exercise, two simple remedies for many aches and pains. Insomnia and disordered sleep can be a major player in health problems, from weight gain to aggravating conditions such as heart disease.
- Strengthen family ties: – Too often, in our fast-paced daily routine, family relationships suffer. A summer break is a great opportunity to discover each other in a different setting and to build lasting memories. Quality family time not only increases while on vacation, but parents and children are also more likely to learn something new about one another during this time.
- Enjoy life: – Taking time off can be a great opportunity to meet new people, laugh and do the things that you most enjoy! If you must, give yourself just 20-30 minutes a day to check email or voice mail to ensure there are no emergencies but after that, release any guilty feelings you have about being away from work. Your co-workers will help keep you from falling too far behind, and then you’ll return the favour when they go on vacation too!
So let’s go get those Summer Miles are get as far away as possible from the work environment. It is the only way of creating those Winter Smiles that we all crave for.