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The Significance of Paid Time Off: Balancing Career and Mental Wellbeing

The Significance of Paid Time Off: Balancing Career and Mental Wellbeing Blog image
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By: Pamela Cohen
Senior VP People Culture & Administration

October 17, 2023

Work is an integral part of our lives, but it can sometimes tip the balance of our overall wellbeing. A revealing statistic from a Bankrate survey 1 shows that 31% of Americans said work negatively affects their mental health. But it's essential to remember that wellbeing isn't solely financial. A truly balanced life embraces the five pillars of wellbeing: financial, mental, physical, community, and career. When it comes to your career and mental wellbeing, a significant element in achieving this balance is understanding and leveraging time off from work..

The Benefits of Time Off

At the surface, paid time off from work provides a break—a chance to escape the daily grind. However, its benefits run deep:

  • Combatting Stress: An unbroken cycle of work can lead to mental fatigue and burnout. Regular breaks, no matter how brief, help alleviate this, ensuring you're at your best when tackling tasks.
  • Boosting Productivity: Contrary to the notion that constant work yields more results, the opposite is true. After rest, individuals often find they work faster, think clearer, and produce better quality work.
  • Gaining Perspective: A breather from daily tasks can provide invaluable perspective. This clarity can lead to more informed decisions and creative solutions.

How PTO Fosters Career and Mental Growth

While the direct advantages of PTO are evident, its subtle benefits play a crucial role in shaping one's career and mental growth:

  • Skill Acquisition: Time away from work often becomes an opportunity to delve into new skills or interests, which can, in turn, add value to your professional life.
  • Broadened Horizons: Travel or immersing yourself in different environments during a break can offer fresh perspectives, not just personally but also professionally.
  • Strengthened Interpersonal Relations: A refreshed mind tends to communicate more effectively, resulting in better interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

What If You Don’t Have Much PTO?

Not everyone has the luxury of extended paid time off. If you're in this boat, here are some tips:

  • Quick Breaks: A few minutes away from your desk or stepping outside can work wonders. You'd be surprised what a short walk or some fresh air can do.
  • Use Your Weekends: It's tempting to check work emails or think about tasks. Instead, do something you enjoy, relax, or spend time with loved ones.
  • Staycations: A Day off at home, without work distractions, can be as refreshing as a trip. Read a book, watch a movie, or just relax.
  • Talk to Your Boss: If long vacations aren't possible, maybe you can occasionally work from home or have flexible hours. It's worth a conversation.

Whether it’s through generous PTO, micro-breaks, or staycations, the emphasis should always be on maintaining a work-life balance. By recognizing and acting upon the need for rest and rejuvenation, we not only safeguard our mental health but also ensure continued excellence in our careers.

This information is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance, and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person's circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition.

1 Retrieved from: