No, it's not wrong to need some time away from your work. It's not selfish to be rewarded for your effort, even if there's more work to do. Let's face it -- there is always more to do, you just don't need to run yourself into the ground for it.
There's a common misconception that Americans believe they need to work excessively. It's so bad that American workers aren't taking their paid time off. I myself am guilty of looking for work opportunities instead of simply enjoying my time away.
When people start bringing up using your vacation time, you instantly start checking off reasons why you can't do it. But it is possible to enjoy vacation and keep the business running smoothly. Let me explain.
Before we talk about how you can take a vacation, let's talk about what you believe are logical reasons you haven't taken a vacation yet.
1. "My business won't make it without me."
I understand that you're nervous about the possibilities of things that can go wrong. But that's why you have employees. Hire people who you trust and know will keep the ball rolling while you're away.
2. "I'll come back to a huge workload."
Make a plan and schedule. It will help significantly reduce your workload when you return. Tell people you'll be out of the office and redirect matters to one of your staff members. Try to schedule your vacation during slow months.
I like traveling during January as it's usually cheaper and everything is a little more easygoing post-holiday season. I do my major planning in November and take advantage of people being out of office. Plus, it allows me to give my staff time off while I prep.
3. "No one can do my job while I'm out."
That's true. No one can do your job and they shouldn't have to take over your role. But your everyday tasks can be done through cross-training. Though it's sometimes hard to give up control, I've found that it's a brilliant way to collaborate. Plus, you may learn something new.
The ideas above are common and can be valid points. However, you're not going to be useful or productive if you're overworked and burned out. In fact, you may actually be hurting your health by not taking a few days.
Stress and depression normally coincide with each other when referring to work. So, it's no surprise that if you're suffering from depression, that relaxation can help alleviate that for you. A University of Calgary study of lawyers in high-stress firms found that those who took vacation and leisure time were less likely to suffer from depression.
However, be sure that the vacation itself is well-planned, otherwise, this negates the opportunity to reduce stress. In other words, don't swap one stress for another.
You're also more productive when you've had a chance to get away. A study involving 131 teachers in the Journal of Organizational Behavior shows that teachers experienced an increase in work engagement when they returned from vacation. Taking time off to reset is important. I've lost count of how many times I've come back to work and felt more creative and confident (and even inspired).
Finally, lack of time off and increased stress has been linked to an increase in heart disease. The Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) studied vacations of over 12,000 men over the course of nine years. At the end of the trial, the data collected showed that middle-aged men who were at a high risk for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) were 20 percent less likely to die from anything and 30 percent less likely to do so from CHD after vacationing.
These are only a few very serious issues that can have long-term effects on you. Have confidence and faith in your team to keep things flowing. Treat your health the way you treat your work and make it a priority to take an extended break every so often.