As a new graduate OT back in 2009 I used to look at my older, wiser, more experienced peers and think “gosh they’re heading off on another holiday” and I will admit it was never thought of in a positive light; more from a place of jealousy and judgement.. “they mustn’t really love their job to have so many holidays’”. But now, 10 years on I think how wrong I was and how laughable that young new grad mindset was! Those amazing colleagues of mine had it all figured out - a perfect balance between work and play!
I first realised this in 2015 when I did a locum position as a clinical operations manager looking after a big group of allied health clinicians in a community based outreach team. And it has been reinforced even more so in my current role as Team Leader at Wise OT Solutions where I manage a remote team of occupational therapists and rehabilitation case managers in the severe injuries space.
The team members that have regular, planned breaks are the most consistent, productive, positive, balanced employees. Whether it’s planning a random day off just to stop and recharge, a long weekend to get an extra mini break, or a pre-planned longer holiday where they can really switch off and reset. They come back with clarity, are rested, recharged and ready to work hard again!
This all hit home for me recently (as I write this blog in fact) on a family getaway to Fraser Island. A sense of freedom, being disconnected from my work role, work life and responsibilities gave me an opportunity to swap hats - being a present mum and partner, tapping into that creative outlet of reading and writing again (ta-dah - a blog!) and just being ok with going slow for a while.
There is something magical about getting off the hamster wheel of life. No work, no chores, no life admin - it seems like a race somedays, and having the opportunity to use other parts of your brain outside of the work mindset was exactly what I needed.
For me, 1 week into a 2 week break, I already feel recharged, reset and ready for the next challenge. Even though I’d love to holiday for a while longer, I actually want to go back to work. This is the value of a good break!
There’s a gross perception that those who take less leave are more valued and more loyal. False! They are a liability right? Too busy down in the weeds doing all the work to think about rest & play and often end up getting sick! It’s the culture we create within our team that will give our people the confidence and commitment to put themselves and their balance first.
I strongly believe the work AND play culture breeds the 5 ‘L’s’:
Love (for the job!)
I don’t know about you, but work doesn’t work without play. Sometimes the best solution is to rest, relax and recharge. It’s hard to be your best on empty! Have you got your next mini break locked in?!