Due to the pandemic, 73% fewer Brits holidayed abroad in 2020 than the previous year*. Travel restrictions, coupled with national anxiety about COVID-19, resulted in many employees choosing to ‘roll over’ their annual leave allowance to 2021. However, with strict requirements still in place around international travel, there are worries that Britons may avoid using their holiday entitlement altogether. This could mean higher depression and chronic stress rates, as not taking annual leave can have detrimental effects on mental health**.
Why don’t people use their annual leave?
There are a variety of reasons why employees might not use their days off:
- Not being able to travel internationally due to restrictions
- Wanting to appear hard-working to be considered for promotion
- Feeling guilty about leaving more responsibilities for co-workers
- Worrying that work will build up in their absence
For these reasons and more, holidays often get overlooked, especially by employees in busy professions. However, properly planned time off can be a lifeline for those prone to stress and depression.
What are the benefits of time off?
Taking time away from your job can help to prevent burnout from work-related anxiety. A survey conducted by ferry company DFDS*** found that 79% of Britons returned from their annual leave feeling significantly less stressed. The psychological benefits of a holiday can make you feel refreshed, ready to tackle the challenges of work with a new sense of calm.
How can you ensure your leave is stress-free?
Planning your holidays beforehand is a good way to avoid a last-minute rush to finish work and prevent a mountain of tasks when you return. Whether you are going abroad or just using your annual leave for some much-needed rest, fixing the dates well in advance will make it easier for you and your colleagues. Allow time to hand over any projects. Ensure that your co-workers have access to all information they might need before you go. Then, once you are on your leave, make sure you can switch off by muting work emails and turning off your work phone.
If you are experiencing work-related stress or burnout, our qualified therapists at The Eaves are available to provide support. Our professionals see individuals of all ages, families, couples and young people 12 hours a day, Monday to Saturday between 9 am and 9 pm. Please call 01483 917000 to speak to a member of the referrals team. You can also send us an enquiry via our website. Click here to find out more.