We start the new year with good intentions: We’ll take all our vacation days, prioritize lunch breaks, or say no when we feel overwhelmed at work. Of course, following through on our promises is the challenging part. According to Tracy Layney, chief human resources officer at Levi Strauss, putting rest on our calendars in small, medium, and large doses is a nonnegotiable in today’s burnout culture.
“It’s critical to carve out small moments to reset,” says Strauss. “I think we need to carve out these moments every day, or each week, and periodically throughout the year. Being able to step away from the tasks or emotions of the moment and find a place of calm and focus can help manage the impacts of burnout.”
Reset from the daily grind
Layney experienced her own journey with burnout, which prompted her to find new tools for taking care of herself. “I ultimately needed to temporarily step back from my career to develop a new approach,” she tells Fortune. Now, she thinks about taking care of herself on a weekly and quarterly basis, “and even broader throughout the year. I’m able to reset when I utilize paid time off to travel and further decompress,” says Layney.
Taking a quarterly vacation or staycation offers a slew of benefits to both your personal life and work life. Research shows that logging off may improve your sleep, reduce levels of depression, and increase neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to grow, learn, and reorganize itself. Still, many of us struggle to take our PTO.
Pew research from this year indicated that nearly four in 10 workers take less time off than their job offers, and people who work in industries such as education, government, public administration, and the military tend to take the fewest timeouts from the daily grind.
Another thing to consider: Part of being in a management position is encouraging your people to take advantage of their PTO, as well as their shorter (but still important) breaks. “By standing up for benefits, partnerships, culture, and policies that ensure employees never have to choose between their job or taking care of themselves, we as employers can do our part to provide the resources needed to implement day-to-day tools that can help to prevent burnout for our people,” says Layney.
Early in the new year, take some time to pencil in your rest for the next 52 weeks. Start with macro-breaks—those longer vacations you plan to take. For example, if you get three weeks of paid time off, you may schedule two longer trips in June and December and two mini staycations in spring and fall. When the time comes, set your email vacation reply and enjoy that CHRO-approved time off.