The holiday season can bring a lot of stress at work.

According to a Monster survey of 612 U.S. workers, a majority (61%) of people say they are negatively affected during the holidays: 44% say they are more stressed than usual and 17% report worsening their general well-being November.

This may come as no surprise in the United States, where there is a culture of overwork and there are no national laws guaranteeing paid vacation. The average American receives 10 vacation days per year after one year of service, all of which are federal holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In many rich countries, particularly in Europe, workers are now known for taking months-long vacations, due to laws and a prevailing culture that emphasizes paid vacation.

This includes Jane Naumova, 25, who lives in London and works in advertising. British workers are entitled to 28 days of paid holiday every year. Naumova’s employer offers even more: a mental health day for each quarter, birthdays off, a day off for each year they work for the company, and a break during the winter holidays. That’s about two months or eight weeks of days off work per year.

“A healthy relationship with work”

Her company’s attitude is crucial to Naumova’s relatively low stress levels during the year-end rush.

Many customers spend the majority of their marketing budget between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. Nevertheless, Naumova says that her company is completely closed from December 22nd to January 3rd and she takes off the day before week too.

“To be honest, work is not my top priority right now,” she says. “My main focus is my mental health. I love my job, but I wouldn’t sacrifice anything for it.”

Her boss doesn’t hold it against her: Naumova’s employer proactively promotes a “healthy relationship with work, especially for us Generation Z people,” she says.

“I’ve been struggling with some anxiety lately for personal reasons,” she says, “so I just went to my boss, asked for some time off for my mental health and help with a few projects and decided to skip the visit. “Office until the end of the year.

Her company has a three-day office policy, but Naumova will return to that schedule in January. That’s generous compared to U.S. standards, where only 17% of workers say they’ll be given more flexibility to work remotely during the holiday season, according to Monster.

Her colleagues also encourage each other to completely switch off during their planned absence, which is helpful, she says. It is a well-communicated expectation that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy and relax during the holidays.

How she prepares for her free time

Now, Naumova has her vacation preparation down to a science: In the weeks before her break, she creates handover materials, meets with her team to discuss the plan, and divides tasks among colleagues.

To get in shape for her absence this winter and still meet her end-of-year deadlines, Naumova is planning some longer days. But for her team, that kind of extra effort usually means starting 30 minutes early or staying 15 minutes late every now and then.

“Nobody spends hours reworking,” she says. “And even if an emergency arises, we have clear instructions from management to reclaim that time.”

Overall, Naumova says her company’s support of time off makes her a better, more rested employee who is more likely to stay.

“Most importantly, remember that you are being paid for this time off because it is already included in your salary,” she says. “It’s not something you should work towards or feel uncomfortable asking about.”

However, she knows that not every company has the same culture, she says, “that’s why I consider myself lucky.”

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Checkout: This 25-year-old in London gets two months’ holiday every year: ‘I work in PR, not A&E’

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