7 Ways to Overcome the Guilt of Taking Time Off

In 2019 we added a video companion to this article:


It can be easy to get caught up in the day to day stresses of your job and forget to plan to use your vacation days. When you finally do start to think about how to spend those days, you may feel overwhelmed at leaving your desk; you’ll imagine your work piling up while you’re out (and it probably will), and the many emails you’ll have upon your return. You might even feel guilty for considering using your vacation days. We’ve all been there, and we all understand those feelings, but taking time to refresh and de-stress is important for your long-term well-being and it is the right thing to do. Here are 6 things to keep in mind when you’re debating if you ought to leave that vacation time on the table, again.


1. Remember you’re entitled to it:

It is part of you compensation package. Would you you throw $2,000 away? That’s essentially what you’re doing if you don’t use your vacation time.


2. Use it to travel and become a better leader:

When you travel you’re culturally broadening yourself, which make you a better leader and better able to understand different people, different cultures, and different experiences. Simply having different experiences can help you be more innovative and tap in to your creative side when you’re back on the job.


3. It will improve your family life:

Using your vacation time to spend with your family is a fantastic way to keep your relationship strong, and you’ll continue to have a strong support network at home. With a happy family at home you can focus 100% on work when you get back to the office.


4. It keeps you healthy:

Staying healthy is paramount to survive a long 30+ year career as a corporate athlete. Vacations have been proven to lower your risk of heart attacks and decrease instances of depression.


5. You cover for your teammates when they’re out, they’ll have your back:

It’s only fair so don’t feel bad about letting them cover for you when you’re out. 35% of Americans believe that no else can do the work while they’re away. In most cases, this isn’t true. We may have these beliefs to help create a feeling of “job security,” or we may truly have trust issues with our teammates, but using your PTO is important, and you and your team should find a way to support each other during vacations.


6. There’s an amazing world out there!

You just gotta make the time to go see it! When you look back on your life, will you regret missing 2 weeks at the office if you got to see The Great Barrier Reef or The Pyramids? Or maybe, you got to spend 2 weeks with your kids hiking or exploring your home town? Whatever you do, those memories will be worth it, and you’ll return to the office rejuvenated!


7. Money spent on experiences brings more lasting happiness than money spent on stuff:

Forgo that $3,000 couch and go on an amazing adventure that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. We don’t know anyone who regrets having gone on an awesome vacation. Thank us when you get back refreshed!

We do live by our medicine. Carly is visiting Costa Rica soon and Tony is heading for a Dubai adventure. Work hard while you’re home, play hard while you’re away, and make sure you to take the time to be away.

This article was co-written by Tony Canas, Chief Motivator at InsNerds.com and Carly Burnham, Chief Writer at InsNerds.com.

About Carly Burnham

Carly Burnham began her insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. She got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how she fell in love with the industry. She saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. When Carly moved to Des Moines in 2010, she decided to commit to the industry, and she completed her CPCU in one year finishing it in 2012 and attending commencement in New Orleans. She completed her MBA at Iowa State University in 2014. During this time, she and Tony founded a Gen Y Associate Resource Group at Nationwide in Des Moines. After they had both left Nationwide, Tony recruited Carly to co-author and manage InsNerds.com. She has the difficult task of keeping his constant flow of crazy ideas focused and helping to flesh them out into useful articles. Carly enjoys sharing knowledge and ideas about the future of the industry and finds the website a good outlet for this passion. Carly is involved in the the CPCU Society Underwriting Interest Group. She also writes "Next Wave" a monthly column in the "Perspectives" section of Best's Review.

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