If you’re one of those workers who never seems to take time off, this is your wake up call to put in for some real time off. If not for a whole week, then at least a chunk of time that gives you three or four days off in a row. Why is taking vacation time so important? Simply put, taking time off that’s given to you by your employer will make you a better worker and a happier person.
And, no, taking vacation days to get your mammogram done and your contact lenses renewed doesn’t count. Although we are almost all guilty of tossing away some vacation days to take care of personal business, vacation days are there for a reason.
Here are four top reasons to take your time.
You Need It
No one can work at a steady clip without a break and remain productive. No matter how much you love your job, doing it constantly can get to be a grind every now and then. Your body and your mind need time to do something else.
It’s Time for Fun
You may not be able to take a two-week vacation to paradise, but a couple of days off can work wonders. Sometimes a morning of catching up on a hobby followed by an afternoon of back-to-back movies and meeting up with friends for dinner is as close to paradise as you might get. It’s still worth it and if it’s all you can manage, take it. The point is to enjoy being away from work.
Your Health Depends on It
Yes, some people do spend vacations overindulging, but more often people on vacation get more sleep and also get more exercise. They eat foods they enjoy at a slower pace and often with people they want to be with. They usually take time to do what interests them, whether that’s a day-long hike or a day-long session with a stack of books. And a lot of vacation time finds people outside more then they are normally able to be. Can’t you just feel your blood pressure going down?
Your Creativity Needs a Boost
Shaking up your routine frees your brain to think in new ways. When your head isn’t full of all the daily details of your work, you have the time and energy to let new ideas float to the surface. Time off can actually boost your creativity and give you a new perspective.
You can probably think of a few more reasons. While you’re doing that, pick the days you want to take off and put in your request to work. You won’t regret it.
Are you creative? Would you like to be more creative?
Do you know nurturing your creativity is not only good for your emotional outlook, but it is also a good career move?
Far from being a perk of artists and musicians, free-flowing creativity is essential to your well-being and carries over into your career. Actively seeking out ways to boost your creativity can actually help your career by giving you a new perspective on everything from interpersonal communication to caring for patients.
Being creative means you are always looking at something with a fresh perspective. Creative people seek out several solutions to a single problem and that approach helps them accept new ideas.
A nurse who is creative is open to new approaches. So if your patient won’t commit to exercising three times a week, maybe you can figure out a plan that includes mall walking or gardening. Creativity helps you work with, not against, a patient’s cultural traditions and expectations to find solutions that are not only pleasing to everyone, but also will be followed.
How can you boost your creativity?
1. Be Curious
Start ramping up your creativity by becoming more curious about things around you. Do you drive by the same street and wonder what’s at the other end? Do you ever check it out yourself? Drive down the road and see what you find. Have you always wanted to know more about the fall of Rome? Start reading up on the subject. Becoming more creative starts with honoring your natural curiosity and following up on it by putting in a little effort.
2. Try Something New
Being in a rut is a sure-fire creativity buster. Dare to change it up! When you try something new, your brain has to work harder and you’re likely to learn. But you shouldn’t just try to squish a new experience into your normal breakneck schedule. Don’t try a new activity or take a new route when you’re in a rush. Give yourself time to enjoy something new so you reap the benefits.
3. Get Engrossed
Of course, you work with your hands every day, but maybe doing something different with your hands, like making jewelry, working on puzzles, woodworking, cooking, or gardening, could bring you to a new state of relaxation. What about singing, public speaking, or even raising chickens? Finding something so engrossing that you lose track of time is a great way to let your mind roam freely. When your mind has the time and freedom to loosen up, some of the best (and most creative) thoughts can come.
4. Spend Time with People Unlike You
Do you visit the same restaurants, eat lunch with the same friends, and visit the same stores? All of those activities build a feeling of community and nurture your sense of belonging. But to get out of your comfort zone – traveling to a funky art show in the city or visiting a farm in the country – can help stir new thoughts. You don’t have to ditch what’s familiar, but interacting with new people helps you grow and can inspire you.
What are some new ways you can boost your creativity?
Whether we’re just starting on our path to serve in the health care industry, or already in service to our communities, there’s no better time than now to remember that taking time to nurture our creative sides can be an asset to our careers. I don’t know about you, but there’s plenty of “I can’t…won’t…shouldn’t” when it comes to the idea of cultivating our creative lives. It’s easy to make excuses for why we aren’t developing that potential; however, with a little time, a little patience, and a whole lot of fun, we can make room for creativity’s positive influence on the mind, body and spirit within our admittedly hectic schedules.
1. Remember: it’s a process!
When we set out to be creative, it doesn’t have to be a chore. No matter the medium, exploring your creativity is an activity that gets you out of your daily routine. Start simple: are you interested in dance, painting, crafts, or writing? Stay open to the possibility that your creativity might or might not be at all like you imagined (or how someone told you it would look). Many people find they can get great personal satisfaction from creating within a wide range of pursuits. Feel free to get as involved as you want in your exploration; after all, the most important thing we can do to be more creative is express our life, loves, and interest in unique, artful, or expansive ways.
Top Tip: Try keeping a daily journal to catalog your progress. Be sure to note what you’ve tried, where you succeeded, and what drew you into the activity the most.
2. A little organization goes a long way.
Even though we might associate creativity with free-flowing effort, the creative process can be made more enjoyable and productive by implementing a few key organizational methods:
Keep supplies on-hand and readily accessible for your creative endeavors.
Set up a space and time to be creative.
Save your work: nothing can be more frustrating that losing that newly written poem, forgetting the motions of an inspired dance, or misplacing the draft to a painting.
3. Expand your definitions.
Art and creativity are without boundaries–no matter who you are, you’re free to create. What we were taught in school, by parents or our peers may or may not be the criteria that best fits our personal connection to creativity. Forge your path knowing that there’s no right way or wrong way to do it.
Top Tip: Take a cue from your “inner kid,” be willing to color outside the lines.
4. Identify the sources of inspiration.
Knowing what it is that sparks your own creativity is critical. Do you find that being around others motivates you, or perhaps a moment of solitude drives you to create? Each of our five senses can be a starting point for getting the gears turning. If you’re typically moved by visual input, what happens when you focus on tactile experience? Try keeping track of those tangible and intangible things that move you deeply.
Top Tip: Create a real-life Pinterest board, using images or words that inspire you. Be sure to place it in a visible area, preferably in your new creative space (see: Step 2).
5. Be bigger than yourself.
Creativity can lead us to new and challenging perspectives on the world around us. Not every creative act needs to be meaningful, but it can be rewarding to let your creativity engage with the social issues that matter to you. If you find that you are passionate about your career, your family, or a social cause outside of your own experience, your creativity has the possibility to express all or any of those things.
Top Tip: Offer to volunteer your time or knowledge to others who similarly are looking to express themselves creatively.
6. Invite others to share in your journey.
Creativity rarely exists in a vacuum. Often, those that find the most joy from their creative lives find ways to bring their creativity out into the world. Whether within your professional network, family, or neighborhood, share your creative work. This can be a welcome addition to our relationships, further allowing us to incorporate our creativity with the very real things, people, and places that we care about.
Top Tip: Take a moment to find resources in your community that offer either creative learning opportunities. You can even find space for you to share work you’ve created within your communities.
7. Don’t forget: Creativity is a community activity.
“Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.” – Seth Godin, author and entrepreneur
Science has shown us that being creative, to encourage and nurture the artist within is a truly miraculous part of what makes us human. Art and creativity affect our moods, stress, and outlook on the future. Just as we tend to others in times of need every day, we owe it to ourselves as health care practitioners to spend a moment exploring our own potential to be happier, healthier, more creative individuals making a difference.
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