When’s the last time you took a complete hiatus from work, and went on vacation? Americans are notoriously bad at taking time off. Numerous studies show that 75% of Americans forgo using all of their allotted paid vacation days, and among those who do take vacations, 61% continue to work while away from the office. That’s crazy!
The research is clear: Taking vacations provides countless benefits for our physical and mental health. For example, both men and women who took vacations at least once a year were found less likely to die from heart attacks and heart disease. Traveling and going on vacation has proved to not only reduce stress and improve mental health for you, but for your entire family. Your relationships will also be better off by taking a vacation. A five-year long study from the Wisconsin Medical Journal found that taking regular vacations increases the odds of marital satisfaction.
So then, why aren’t we taking enough breaks and going on vacation? We might try to argue “I can’t afford to take a vacation”, “My team will be lost without me”, or “I’ll get too behind on my work”. If improving your health isn’t a good enough reason to get some R&R, taking vacations actually benefits us at work by increasing productivity, improving workplace morale, and raising employee retention rates, according to Forbes. Not utilizing vacation days means risking burnout at work. Your company needs you to be recharged and focused. You can’t afford notto take a vacation.
In addition, taking a mental break isn’t just necessary for you, but it also benefits the economy as a whole. CNBC reports that even though Western European workers take significantly more time off than US workers, this hasn’t been found to affect the productivity of Western Europeans. In fact, it’s the opposite—vacation can make you moreproductive.
All of the research on taking time off points in the same direction; those who take vacations are healthier, happier, less stressed, and more productive. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, and take a vacation already!