Don't cancel your time off from work if COVID-19 cancels your vacation, experts suggest

A lot of people plan summer vacations but COVID-19 is forcing many to rethink or cancel their travel plans. Even seeing loved ones now carries a risk, something that can raise anxieties. 

That's why experts say it's so important we still find time to relax and unwind during the pandemic. 

At MI Med Medical Supply Company in Waterford, for example, they've been working nonstop since the COVID-19 crisis began trying to take care of their customers. But what about owner Mark Degroff and his employees? Work is stressful enough without all of the added concerns at work and at home because of the coronavirus.

"We let them pretty much take the time that they need, when they need it, especially now," Degroff said. 

"Just to be able to reset our minds and bodies and just prepare for what's ahead of us now," Ashleigh Bonnell said. Bonnell and her family had a vacation planned for June but their baseball tournament was canceled. But they didn't cancel the vacation.

"We felt that it was extremely important to get away and just be outside," she said. "It was just nice to kind of get away from everything."

Which is exactly what psychiatrist Dr. Gerald Shiner suggests. Whether you're still reporting for work every day or working from home: you need to take a break.

"When you're stuck inside, when you're working all the time your head is down and you're facing deadlines, you don't realize what a toll it takes on your body, your mind and your health," he said. Especially in the middle of a pandemic. Concerns about your own safety, or your kids', or your parents' can be very stressful.

"We have to take vacations to take care of ourselves," he said. 

And Dr. Shiner says many people right now are not taking those vacations.

"People are putting off their vacations during these times because they're waiting until they can go away and they're waiting until they can take that trip to the beach."

The doctor says you may not be able to take that trip but that you should still take a break.

"I think that employers have to know that it's good for their employees to take time off and recharge their batteries. I think employees have to know that their employers support them."

Take it from this employee who took time off and is glad she did: "I would recommend that anybody. If you get a day off or if you have the ability to take a short vacation or a long weekend to just get away from everything I would suggest you doing that," Bonnell said.