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  • Writer's pictureMalini

The Vitality of Taking Leave

Woman relaxing on the grass
Source: Freepik

In a society where productivity reigns supreme and the pursuit of success feels endless, the idea of stepping away from work can feel not only daunting but downright taboo. Disconnecting seems like a luxury reserved for the privileged few or a distant dream for the rest of us caught in the the corporate hamster wheel. 


We’ve been conditioned to believe that our worth is tied to our productivity, that taking time off is a sign of weakness or laziness, and that constant busyness is the key to achievement. This struggle to detach ourselves from work is rooted in a capitalistic culture where wealth is confused as health.


There is a great cost that comes with this mindset. Burnout, stress-related illnesses, and diminished mental well-being are becoming increasingly common in today’s workforce. We’ve normalised the idea of sacrificing our health and happiness on the altar of productivity, all in the name of chasing success. This unsustainable approach is not only detrimental to individuals but also to organisations as a whole, leading to decreased morale, creativity, and overall performance.


So why is it so hard to disconnect? 

  1. Fear of falling behind or being perceived as less committed than our peers. In a hyper-competitive work environment, the pressure to constantly be available and responsive can be overwhelming. 

  2. The rise of technology has also blurred the boundaries between work and personal life, making it increasingly difficult to switch off and unwind.

  3. There’s a deeply ingrained expectation to prioritise work above all else. From an early age, we’re taught to equate success with busyness, to glorify the hustle, and to sacrifice our well-being in pursuit of professional achievements. 

This cultural conditioning runs deep and can be incredibly challenging to overcome. But it’s essential to recognise that taking leave and disconnecting from work isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 


Stepping away allows us to recharge, gain perspective, and return to work with renewed energy and creativity. It’s a crucial aspect of self-care that shouldn’t be neglected or undervalued.


Furthermore, disconnecting doesn’t mean abandoning our responsibilities or neglecting our work. It’s about setting boundaries, prioritising our health, and recognising that we’re more than just cogs in the machine. By prioritising our well-being, we become not only happier and healthier individuals but also more productive and engaged team members.


While the cultural roots of our reluctance to disconnect run deep, it’s up to us to challenge these norms and prioritise our well-being above all else. It is not about how hard we work — it’s about how well we take care of ourselves. Health will always be wealth, not the other way around. 


 

References

  1. The Busier You Are, the More You Need Quiet Time.” Harvard Business Review, 2017. Read here.

  2. “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time.” Harvard Business Review, 2007. Read here.

  3. “The Human Moment at Work.” Harvard Business Review, 2014. Read here.

  4. “Reclaim Your Commute.” Harvard Business Review, 2020. Read here.

  5. “The Business Case for Mental Health.” Harvard Business Review, 2019. Read here.

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