We are vacation deprived. It’s true. According to the 2011 Vacation Deprivation Study by Expedia, Americans earn less and take less than half the vacation time that Europeans do and still leave an average of three unused vacation days every year.
Using vacation time seems to be a lost privilege among North American workers when in fact, it should be seen as a vital part, not only for your well-being, but also for your career. Vacations are essential to help you relax and balance the multiple demands in your life.
Reboot and Recharge
Workers who take regular time off from work are less likely to experience burnout. We all feel the stress and weight of our workload, and a vacation can seem like one of the worst things you could do for your company and co-workers. Most U.S. workers still take work with them on vacation in one form or another. Never the less, you could be causing more problems in the long run by not taking time off.
A vacation free from work can help you refresh your mind and gain a new perspective on work-related situations. If you make the most and enjoy your vacation, you can be surprised at what you’ll discover about your projects when you step away from the circumstances. You’ll also be able to come back with more vigor and passion when you spend a few days away from it all.
Health and Happiness
Taking vacations can have a big impact on your overall health and well-being. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that after three days of vacation, their subjects’ physical complaints and quality of sleep and mood had improved. The improvements were still present five weeks after they returned from work.
Spending time with loved ones can also help keep relationships strong. Strengthening those bonds will ensure you have help support during stressful times. And having close family and friends will help you enjoy the good times even more.
You may be new to a job, or just be a few years into one, and lack the funds or vacation time to spend. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money and go out of the country, sunbathe at the beach, ski down the highest mountains, or relax at the fanciest lodges. There are several places you can go and get the same benefits on a tank of gas and a fixed budget.
Become a Mean, Green Working Machine
Vacations are also known to improve job performance. If you experience burnout, you’ll start to slack on your job duties and put more pressure on your co-workers and managers to pick up your slack. A lack of vacation time can be like a lack of sleep. Less sleep can affect your ability to think clearly, act decisively, process information, and react quickly. Having too few personal days can have the same affect at work. The same NCBI study suggest the physical benefits that come from vacation can lead to increased quality of work on the job.
It can be easy to think that since you’re new to a job or have only been with an employer for a few years that you need to keep working to impress your managers and stay on their good side. But the dangers of holding off on vacation time can not only damage yourself, but also your employer. What are some of your best vacation ideas and how did they make you feel?