5 Ways To Make the Most of Your PTO


Paid time off (PTO) can feel like a luxury even if you’re promised those precious two weeks each year, but chances are you’re one of the people who need it most. How do you spend that time? A big international vacation? You might end up returning to work more tired than when you left, and navigating airports can take up valuable time. If you’re staring down your vacation days and don’t know how to spend them, here are some ways you can enjoy your time away from work and come back revitalized.

1. See Somewhere New

While a daily, weekly, or even monthly routine can help you function well in normal life, things can start to feel a little stagnant. Why not start your vacation off right by visiting somewhere new? You can choose randomly, like looking up Hampton Inns in Columbia SC, or you can choose somewhere close to home. Even the next town over can inspire you with new sights, sounds, smells, and experiences. A simple change of scenery can also help your imagination process problems faster and come up with better solutions in the workplace.

2. Pamper Yourself

If you’ve got a demanding job, an active vacation full of activities and a set schedule may not be for you. Instead, consider checking out a spa. You can get a massage, a facial, or spend some time in the sauna. Many spas have day passes and include pool access, drinks, and restaurants. You can dedicate a full day to releasing any built-up tension and then enjoy the rest of your vacation in a more relaxed state of mind.

3. Prioritize Rest and Relaxation

Relaxation doesn’t have to stop at the spa. If you go to the beach, there’s no rule that says you have to go swimming, or build sand castles, or dig for treasure. You can nap on the sand, listen to music, or read. Sleep in, eat a big brunch, and do all the things you wish you could do at home but never have time for. This is your vacation, so never feel bad about spending it the way you want to. 

4. Bring Your Hobbies

Many busy professionals don’t get to indulge in their hobbies as often as they’d like, which can seriously impact your mental health. You can use your time off to get reconnected with your favorite hobbies or discover new ones. Many areas offer workshops or classes for beginners, so there’s no reason not to try a cooking class or making pottery. You could discover a new life-long love! Plus, engaging in a hobby regularly can even help improve other skills in unexpected ways. You might even come across more networking opportunities with people in your field.

5. Catch Up With Friends and Family

It’s easy to become a bit isolated if you work a lot, so you may want to use part of your time off to reconnect with important friends and family. You can make a point of calling, texting, or visiting during your vacation, or you can plan one together. This isn’t how everyone wants to spend their time off, but it can be a great way to bond and take breaks away from work together. This is also a great option for friends who live far apart and have a hard time seeing one another otherwise. 

It can be tempting to try packing everything you can into your time off, but there are also serious benefits to taking a more relaxed approach. By prioritizing rest, relaxation, and your own interests, you can enjoy your time away from work and return more rested and energized than ever before. 

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