The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Relaxation and Productivity


My dad is one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met. He works long hours and almost never takes a sick day. He’s been really successful in business, and I can easily see why: he just out-works everyone around him, all of the time!

But, lately, I think my dad seems a little over-worked. He’s been doing this for so long, and I think it’s really taking a toll on him. He seems burned out, and I think he needs a vacation. But when I bring this up to him, he’s not very receptive. He’s not a big believer in taking breaks, and he never much enjoyed our family vacations. Now that I’m out of the house and my mother and he are divorced, he’s just not taking breaks at all.

How can I convince my dad to take a break and stop burning himself out like this?

Your father clearly cares a lot about his work, and that’s admirable. But it’s also clear that his non-stop work schedule has left him feeling more than a little worse for the wear. Perhaps you can make the case for his mental health by appealing to something you know he cares about: his work!

What your dad seems to be experiencing is called “burnout,” and it’s very real. Burnout has physical and mental symptoms, and it’s not a good feeling. It’s also not very good for your work. If your father is tired and losing interest in what he does, then he’s not going to deliver the superior work that he clearly demands of himself.

Your father may be hoping that he can just work through his burnout symptoms – just keep going and going until he somehow comes out on the other side of his exhaustion and doldrums. That’s a mistake, because burnout doesn’t get better on its own. It only gets worse.

The cure for burnout? Work-life balance and, specifically, taking some time off from work! A vacation is likely to leave your father feeling refreshed and ready to work at a high level again. A really relaxing vacation can have physical and mental benefits, say the experts behind Luxury resorts Cabo.

In other words, a vacation might be good for your father’s work life. Arguing from this perspective may help him see the benefits of a vacation. He may be okay with sacrificing his mental health for his work, but if his work is actually suffering because of his intensity, then that doesn’t make sense!

And studies show that, contrary to what your father seems to believe, vacations actually increase our productivity. Sure, we’re not working when we’re on break, but when we return our higher productivity more than makes up for the time lost. This effect can be clearly seen when comparing American productivity to that of countries where workers take more vacation days. The math is clear: American workers’ habit of leaving vacation days on the table is bad for productivity.

It’s great that you’re trying to convince your father to take better care of himself. Good luck! We all need a break once in a while.

“No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax at least five minutes every hour, you’d be more productive.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers

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