Studies have shown that most of the Canadians don’t get a break from their work and the few that take time off experience “vacation shaming” – where they are made to feel guilty about taking the vacation. A different research found that Canadians put in as much as 33 additional working hours before and after a vacation to make up for the time away. According to experts, these bad working habits can cause mental health. The experts have noted that these habits have increased ever since the pandemic hit Canada because most of the employees have nowhere to fly, and others have no desire to fly without a vaccine.
Recent research by staffing firm Robert Half Canada found that 67 percent of staff have not had any message from their bosses about booking a holiday, 10 percent said they had a lot of work for a vacation. In comparison, another five percent said they were discouraged from taking a break. Kate Bezanson, an associate professor of sociology at Brock University, said uncertainty looms in the coming months as schools reopen, and the flu season returns may make it harder for people to make those decisions and take that time off. Besides, Bezanson said it was not necessarily overt pressure, but it could be internalized pressure to be available and not take some time off.
Additionally, Bezanson said the pandemic had made it challenging to find the dividing lines between professional life and personal life. Bezanson noted that many families were also prioritizing their children’s relationships when piloting ways to integrate socializing breaks into their routine. Bezanson said we need to manage the sense of loss over those opportunities that may not be available and be gentle with each other about what is possible. She said she had a 17-year-old who probably didn’t want to spend a week away with her right now because of having spent the last six months hanging out together.
On the other hand, Katy Kamkar, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto said COVID-19 had radically changed people’s lives over the past months. Parents have multiple responsibilities and roles all at once, and they have to sacrifice one thing to make time for another. They have also been through moments of worries and uncertainties; hence some choose to take a vacation to take care of the enormous responsibilities. Nonetheless, experts have warned that self-care has to be individualized. Even though people might be having so many responsibilities, they should take some time off from work for self-care to reduce stress, increase mental health, and enhance productivity.
Studies found that spending two or more hours a week can lead to better health Kamkar adds that society also needs to normalize prescribing time for rest. She added that finding time of practicing self-compassion, self-kindness, as part of self-care is important. She said setting meaningful activities, appreciating our sense of self, developing a healthy view of ourselves — all those were our foundation to building our resiliency. Additionally, Kamkar said we need to create our own individualized “recipe” for what works: “What we can do that gives us a sense of well-being or quality of life.”