American workers are known for not taking advantage of earned time off. According to the 2018 State of the American Vacation report from the U.S. Travel Association, more than half of workers in the country have unused paid vacation days. In fact, they are taking about one less week of vacation annually than they did in the mid-1970s.
Are Americans afraid that their co-workers will get more props for staying on the job? More raises or promotions? Better projects? Do they feel irreplaceable? Alert: No one is! So, let’s look at important reasons to take back earned time off.
Vacations are like medicine for your body, mind, and soul. For example, if you’re at risk for heart disease, skipping vacation time makes you 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack than folks who took time off during the year. Foregoing time off can also increase risk for anxiety, depression, obesity, and insomnia. Women are especially vulnerable for stress-related illnesses like these. So, vacations can improve wellness and keep you healthy long-term.
You need to give your brain a break. Instead of constantly focusing on work projects, taking time to focus on new activities, scenery, people, or cultures can provide increased motivation when you return to your job. This leads to greater job satisfaction because you’ll feel less stressed and happier—attitudes which will help you do your job even better.
Vacations can be a time to have fun and to bond with family or friends. Leaving daily distractions behind allows you to focus on enjoying the people in your life instead of harboring negative emotions from the daily frenzy that many families live in. Allow yourself to uncover a fresh sense of adventure, curiosity, and appreciation for your surroundings.
Travel can help unlock these physical and mental health benefits by engaging our bodies and minds in new activities or mindfulness. Improvement happens when you step away from routine and allow yourself to experience a different level of satisfaction. Leisure time to set a different pace, free from tension, and full of inspiration can be a healthy reset that reaps great benefits for both personal and work lives.
So, take that vacation. Whether you travel near or far is not as important as that you simply get away!
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