Just about everyone in our society gets to a point where they are tired, burnt out, and fatigued, right? In our go-go-go society, being “busy” is considered a badge of honor and correlated with being ‘successful’. Well, is that actually true? Are you truly successful overall in life when you are completely burnt out emotionally and physically from burning the candle at both ends?
Rest = Success
A study referenced by this article (1) shows how compared to 20 years ago, there has been a 32% increase in the last 20 years of people who report they are exhausted, and for about 50% of those people, it is due to work. And this study (2) shows that high levels of stress and fatigue are associated with decreased success. So- we are more successful in general when we make a point to rest and rejuvenate ourselves. That’s why vacations feel so good! But did you know that Americans work more and take less vacation than the majority of the other nations?!
According to Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation surgery in 2018, workers here in America are not only given less vacation days compared to other countries, but they also don’t take a good chunk of the vacation days available to them. US workers took the fewest average number of vacation days, which was about 10 days per year. This is in comparison to other developed countries like Brazil, France, Germany, Spain (3) who all take an average of 30 days/year. 84% of US executives have cancelled their vacations in order to work instead. And overall, about 41% of Americans check into work while they are on vacation. (4) Sure sounds relaxing, right? Nope.
Now, these statistics could be due to the fact that the US is one of the few countries that does not have mandatory paid leave by the government, but I do believe the false concept of “more work = more success” could also be playing a part in this. The facts are this: when researchers studied the correlation between vacation and success, they found workers who took 11 or more vacation days were more likely to receive a bonus or raise in the previous years than those who took 10 or less days for vacation (5) . Rest and rejuvenation leads to higher success and creativity! It also lowers stress, improves mental health, and lowers your chance for a heart attack.
Sabbath Day of Rest
Our sermon this past weekend talked about before God even gave Moses the 10 commandments, He commanded us to work for 6 days, and then on the 7th day (the Sabbath) to rest. The word ‘Sabbath’ literally means “to rest from labor”. Later on when God gave Moses the 10 commandments, it said *remember* the Sabbath, because He knew we’d forget! When we are working too much, forgetting to rest, and losing sleep, it is immensely damaging to our bodies. Not only does fatigue and sleep loss cause our immune system to suffer, but it also predisposes for obesity, diabetes, higher death rates from age-related diseases, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and even higher alcohol use (6).
I have started to make it a point to take a full day where I do not look at work or my computer. I spend time with my friends and family, go hiking in nature with my pup, spend some time in His word, and just finding what fills my soul cup up. Is it different for everyone, but I HIGHLY recommend you find what rejuvenates you and do that at least once per week. We aren’t built to work 50-60 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Please don’t let yourself get to that fatigue/ burn-out stage, which studies show predisposes us for physical diseases! Find your Sabbath and make time to REST. Be well my friends.
- Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness https://hbr.org/2017/06/burnout-at-work-isnt-just-about-exhaustion-its-also-about-loneliness
- Perceived stress and fatigue among students in a doctor of chiropractic training program. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5345784/
- The Data-Driven Case for Vacation. https://hbr.org/2016/07/the-data-driven-case-for-vacation
- Three Science-Based Reasons Vacations Boost Productivity https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201708/three-science-based-reasons-vacations-boost-productivity
- Vacation can make you more productive — just ask the Europeans. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/25/vacation-can-make-you-more-productive–just-ask-the-europeans.html
- Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorder https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/