Madagascar (File picture)

In today’s fast-paced work and social environment, where technology allows for 24/7 connectivity, taking time to switch off and recharge is critical. 
 
According to Priya Naicker, Advice Manager at Old Mutual Personal Finance, even the most career-focused among us can fall victim to burnout if stress is not managed appropriately. Taking a break is essential for healthy living and maintaining high levels of career performance. 

Leave is an important tool for both employers and employees as it helps to optimise performance and productivity over the long term, by contributing to a more healthy and engaged workforce, says Naicker.
 
“Employees often avoid taking their leave to prove their commitment or because they are over concerned about not meeting deadlines if they take more than an occasional short break. The important thing to remember is that sometimes you need to slow down to speed up and taking time off is a good way to re-evaluate your goals and assess whether you’re on track to sustain your professional momentum.”
 
There are many different ways to rest, recover and recharge, so the trick is to find the one that best suits your needs and budget. For some, a trip locally or abroad is the ideal way to disconnect and escape, while for others the freedom to explore and experience favourite attractions from the comfort of a home stay is its own reward.
 
Whatever your preference, Naicker says that planning for your vacation goals can give you a blueprint for success, turning your dreams into reality without sacrificing your financial well-being.
 
Check out these useful tips from Naicker:

  • Turn your holiday plans into a financial goal, to help you stay on track and make it a reality. Start by designing your ideal vacation based on your preferences, priorities and budget.  Consider the costs involved such as travel, accommodation and/or activity costs, and decide on the ideal time. An accredited financial adviser can help you calculate how much you’ll need by factoring in inflation and other costs (e.g. currency fluctuation), and can also assist in recommending the most suitable way to save toward this.
  • Start with some action as soon as possible. Once you’ve chosen the option that suits your budget and well-being, take action toward setting the goal in motion. If you’ve identified that you need to save towards this, start as soon as possible, even if that means starting small.  
  • Use the inspiration to trim unnecessary spending. Cut down on unnecessary expenses and channel those savings towards your goal.
  • Create the habit of saving. By making saving a habit, you increase the possibility of fun, reward and financial well-being. Resist the temptation to finance vacations through debt, as this often creates expensive repayments and future financial stress. Instead, optimise your savings and consider creative options that meet your budget.
  • Create and stick to your financial plan. A robust financial plan is one that is regularly assessed and adaptable to changing circumstances. An unexpected event or environmental fluctuations such as economic changes should not be cause for panic. Re-assess your plan with your financial adviser, make changes if needed and continue to make progress on your goals.

For many people, investing in experiences and activities that enrich your emotional and physical well-being are essential tools to optimise personal and career outputs. Planning for these enables the financial well-being that will support this journey.