Yes, You Deserve a Break at Work!

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We women love to give, give and give. We are often perfectionists who make work a priority over our physical and mental health. Stop it already, would you?

 In the workplace and by law, we are entitled to lunch break depending on the amount of hours we work, but how many of us actually take one? With deadlines and all of the other drama at work many of us end up eating at our desk, or we are just skip lunch all together. FYI: Keyboards are bombarded with germs and bacteria. Yuck!

  Constantly skipping lunch to catch up on work or eating at your desk doesn't allow you the chance to clear your head and can leave you feeling overwhelmed. After dealing with clients, patients or students all day, one needs time to refuel. Even if you cannot always get away for a full lunch break at least take a 10 minute walk outside or have a quick five minute phone catch-up with a good friend.  

Beware of supervisors that offer to buy lunch for the office. This is his or hers not-so-sneaky way to feed you, but still keep you at your desk and working. Eat the food, but still go out for a 10 minute walk. Constantly working like a mule can be counterproductive because sooner or later you will get burnt out. This same ideology applies to your vacation, sick and personal days. You have them, so use them, but don't abuse them. Sometimes we are hesitant to take days off because we feel guilty or wonder who will do their work while we are out. The world won't end because you're sick with the flu. Take care of yourself first! 

 My suggestion is when you take vacation days is to leave your work/projects in tip-top shape, put your out of office reply on and go and smell the roses! Your co-workers, and supervisors will be able to manage. Here are some tips to keep in mind when taking your well-deserved vacation:

1. Leave Instructions: Some people are clueless. Leave dummy-proof instructions (if possible) for whomever is going to be providing coverage for you.

2. Even if You are on a Stay-cation, Don't Check-in: If you were in Tahiti, you wouldn’t look for a phone, so the same rule applies even if you are just at home. Also, don't let your job know that you are home during a vacation. They might call you, or worst, ask you to come in if something comes up. Only return or accept calls if it is life or death…literally. If you own your own business, sorry this rule does not apply to you.

3. Don’t Bring or Do Work: Self-explanatory. You should be working on your tan, resting, reading trashy novels or catching up on reality TV.

4. Expect a Disaster Upon Your Return: An apocalypse probably occurred at work while you were out. Stay calm, fix the issues, and try to savor whatever you can from your time off.

Carline C. Dumerlin-Folkes works in the field of education and is the founder of B.E.L.L.E Becoming Exceptional Ladies & Learning Everyday (www.bellegirlssucceed.com) and believes as women we should support one another and carry as we climb. She is also the co-author of Miss University, a reference guide for college-bound young women (www.missuniversitybook.net

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