Don’t Let This Year’s Holidays Turn Into an Oblication

The general point of the holiday season is to relish in the company of loved ones, be merry, but most importantly, to take time away from work to relax and enjoy life. Yet so many young professionals, year after year, use their time off to engage in what has recently been deemed the “oblication.” A study done just last year found that as Canadians, we have the least amount of holiday time compared to any other workforce in the world.

Utilizing our precious time off to do the things we enjoy, and to make ourselves the priority, are very important factors in our success as young professionals. So this year, ditch the oblication and indulge in a real, well-deserved vacation. 

Typical oblications
While spending time with family is certainly important, devoting your entire vacation to doing home repairs for your great aunt, listening to your father’s bad jokes, or helping care for your sister’s new baby can turn your vacation into yet another activity that feels like work. Other typically reported oblications are those taken to attend weddings, funerals, or baby/new home events. Such gatherings are certainly important, and fulfilling these commitments are part of being an adult, but learning when it is necessary to put yourself first and how to politely say no are also key to living life as a balanced young professional.   

The importance of doing you
Here at Notable we are always stressing the importance of the work-fun balance. We don’t do this simply because we like having a good time, but because we know just how crucial this balance is to the success of YPs. The biggest issue with the oblication is that it can feel like work, and if you are spending your holiday doing what feels like work, then you aren’t taking a holiday at all. Research has shown that those who take more time off and use it to engage in the things that they enjoy are less likely to experience burnout, and even have a lowered risk for heart disease.  Additionally, studies have also shown that those taking real vacations are more motivated and more productive in their careers. To maintain our own well being, as well as to be the best workers we can be, taking vacations should be considered just as obligatory as the other responsibilities in our lives. 

“Thanks, but no thanks”
Common ways of getting out of spending our holidays tending to friend or family obligations include claiming we can’t afford it, that we have too much work, or that we are ill. These tactics may grant you a free pass this time, but you may then find your lie coming to haunt you, whether in the form of guilt, being caught, or by being roped in again next time. If you want to really enjoy your vacation, with self-respect and a clear conscience, try being honest. By asserting yourself and your needs to those presenting oblication invitations, you will also be better positioned for future invitations. Let them know that you aren’t willing or able to give up your entire holiday to always do what they want, and eventually they may stop expecting you to. Taking the honest route may be difficult, as we hate to disappoint our family and friends, but because they are the people that care so much for you, rest assured that eventually they will likely appreciate the honesty and come to understand your position. 

We think the best tactic for bowing out of oblications is to simply explain your current situation: that as a busy and perhaps stressed YP, at this time spending your vacation, at least in part, doing what you want to do, is imperative to your health and your career; so thanks, but no thanks.