Its Spring Break, and for the next two weeks, our schools are closed. Living in a northern district we can't really count on the weather being particularly "spring like" in mid to late March, but the benefits of down time and slowing the pace far outweigh any negativity or grumbling generated by not knowing whether gumboots, snow pants or sunscreen will be required on any given day. I've never been a calendar watcher, or one who anxiously counts down the days to the next holiday break, but I do believe in a healthy work life balance, and the benefits of slowing down and having a good break from work are undeniable.
The Australian website Health.ninemsn provides a good summary of the benefits of a good holiday. Regaining fitness, perspective and health rank high on their list. Getting more rest, reconnecting with friends and family, and just generally slowing down make us all just a little nicer to be around. Many of my colleagues are taking advantage of the extended holiday to travel to destination holidays or to see family who live far away. While holiday travel comes with its own set of stresses, having enough time to make, and enjoy, the trip is a definite plus.
The benefits of slowing down need not be restricted to just certain times of the year. The Positivity Blog outlines benefits of working some slow into daily routines. Weight loss and stress reduction are two such benefits, as reducing the hectic pace at which we work, and taking the time to eat slowly are steps in the right direction. For those who would argue they don't have the time, experts point out that slowing down and taking time to do a job well actually improves productivity, creativity and job satisfaction.
Being efficient and effective and doing more with less have become such ever present demands in daily life that some people actually feel guilty about taking time off. Its ironic to note that the answer to improving productivity, creativity and worker satisfaction may not actually lie in working longer and harder, but in slowing down and enjoying our breaks. Here's hoping this Spring Break, regardless of where and how you spend it, is a good one!