The boundary between work and home continues to grow thinner. Improved technology, cost-of-living pressures, and the success of remotely working from home through Covid lockdowns have combined to create the perfect storm.
In 2023 we can find ourselves lost in the constant scrolling, swiping, texting, emailing and phone calls that occur both inside and outside of work. And this loss of balance and ‘work creep’ is negatively impacting our mental and physical health. That’s why researchers are placing more importance on holidays than ever.
In fact, embracing holidays doesn’t just feel good. It can positively impact your mental and even physical health. So why aren’t more Australians taking them?
Australians are not taking annual leave
Despite this work creep, Australians still aren’t taking annual leave. Roy Morgan research conducted in 2021 showed that just over half of Australia’s paid workers had at least two weeks of untaken annual leave. This was an increase from 46% the year before.
More Australians in paid work are taking on additional roles and hoarding their annual leave. Often they fear redundancy and are trying to safeguard their jobs. Sometimes they feel they just have too much on and can’t take the time off. And sometimes they’re worried about how they’ll afford to live if they have holidays.
Recent research conducted by software company ELMO found that:
- Cost-of-living pressures are adding to demanding workloads, resulting in 75% of Australians in paid work actively avoiding taking annual leave.
- Around 25% of Australian employees have accrued more than their annual leave entitlement.
Interesting, ELMO also found that the mental health of 65% of Australian workers has been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, leading to a double impact.
Australians feel pressure to stay connected to work
Recruitment specialists Hays recently stated that 82% of Australians feel pressured to remain connected to work beyond their normal working hours. Because of that, even when we do take holidays, we may not be disconnecting enough.
The conversation around the ‘right to disconnect’ from work is increasing. France was the first country to introduce legislation around employees’ ‘right to disconnect’. It was followed by several other European countries, most recently Belgium. We’re yet to see this form of legislation in Australia.
The Importance of Holidays for Mental and Physical Health
To make our blurred lines a little more solid, it’s vital that we focus on taking our holidays. In fact, research proves that it is actually good for us.
Holidays improve our physical health
A nine-year medical study found that holidaying may improve heart-health. This is likely due to the fact that holidaying removes you from the day-to-day work stressors and responsibilities that can negatively impact our heart health. Reduced stress can mean a reduced risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as a reduction in anxiety.
Holidaying allows increased opportunity for restful sleep, as well. This is important for everyone, because sleep allows your body to physically recover and repair, supports brain develop and cardiac function and allows for better metabolism.
Well-being, focus and perspective
Being on holiday means you are physically removed from the workplace. You can then more easily dissociate yourself from thinking about work and focus on your immediate environment. This break from work-day routines helps to bring an improved sense of well-being. It even leads to improved cognitive performance.
The improved mood a holiday can bring often starts from the moment you book your holiday, as it gives you something to look forward to and plan for.
Improved family relationships
A shared holiday can improve family relationships, from planning to travelling together to the shared experiences while on holiday. Memories are created, and there are opportunities to talk, wander and experience things together. Holidaying is great for kids too, as it allows them to step away from their own school-day pressures and concerns.
Improved productivity on return to work
Holidays allow you space to have some recovery from work. And research shows this is key to restoring resources expended during work, and to maintaining mental productivity and performance.
How to take the best holidays for your health!
When it comes to taking the best holidays for your health, it really depends on what is best for you! Holidays should not add further stress or financial burden to you. You could keep it local and short in duration or you could head out for a big overseas holiday.
Whatever will give you a decent physical and mental break from work while allowing you to properly rest and recharge is the best choice.
Get in Touch
If you’d like to chat about the importance of holidays or anything else, please call us on (07) 3857 0074 to book an appointment with one of our clinicians. You can also send us an Appointment Request via this website and we’ll contact you as soon as possible to book a suitable time for you.