Work is important, but so is taking time to recharge your batteries. In their annual study, the US Travel Associations Project Time Off discovered that 52% of employees surveyed left earned, unused vacation time on the table in 2017. That amounted to collectively unused 705 MILLION vacation days!
Your vacation time is important. Here are a few reasons time off is important, and how you can disconnect from work and enjoy your time off.
- Improved health. Stress hormones can be beneficial, helping you cope with potentially serious or dangerous situations, but when your stress response is triggered on a regular basis due to the pressures associated with your job—it can start to have adverse effects on your physical and mental health. In a study performed by the University of Vienna, workers who took a break from their stressful work environment had varying levels of relief from stress-related symptoms such as headaches, backaches, and insomnia, and continued to feel better even five weeks after returning to work.
- Increased motivation. Time off can help to stimulate your imagination and creativity, by allowing your mind and body to recharge in a new environment. Regular sleep, fresh air and sunshine, and a change in routine all help the brain to relax and be open to new ideas.
- Enhanced productivity. Upon returning to work after a well-deserved break, many employees have a renewed sense of energy and more relaxed disposition. Approaching routine or undesirable tasks with a fresh perspective often takes less time and effort, allowing you to work more effectively and efficiently. When employees are more productive they tend to be happier, and when they are happier it reflects in the quality of their work.
- Cardiovascular gains. The heart and circulatory system may be negatively affected by an unhealthy lifestyle with too little downtime. Heart disease and high blood pressure can be brought on by stress. The New York Times reported that both men and women who took a vacation every two years vs every six years reduced the risk of a heart attack and heart disease significantly.
With all the benefits an annual vacation brings, what are you waiting for?