Vacations are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Americans get less annual vacation time (14 days) than many other countries, according to Expedia.com. The French, for example get about 38 days per year to get away.
According to John de Graaf of Take Back Your Time, 137 countries make paid vacation mandatory; the United States isn’t one of them. To top it all off, over 30% of Americans don’t use all their annual vacation days, leaving about 3 days on the table each year.
Many people struggle to find a good time to take vacation. Consequently, it is easy to get overrun with projects and deadlines and not get ahead of the tidal waves of work. For those who manage the feat, nearly 25% of them check in with work while on vacation. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the point?
I vow not to become another statistic. Therefore, I announce that my family is taking a vacation. Recently, my wife and I decided on our next vacation location. We love to travel, explore new places and see what adventures we find there. Just brainstorming the possibilities of things to do gets me excited. This trip will take planning and preparation – both stepping away from work and the trip itself. But, it will be well worth it.
Sometimes it can seem nearly impossible to step away from your work. But here are 4 justifications for taking a much needed vacation.
When we get away from the busyness of exploding inboxes, relentless phone calls and heated meetings, it is not surprising that we relax. While we all know we need a little down time, taking a real vacation results in some serious health benefits. A longitudinal study by The Mind-Body Center found that men at risk for heart disease were at nearly 25% higher risk of death and a third more likely to die of a heart attack when they didn’t take a vacation every year. The only early departure I want in my life is to the beach.
Vacation could even save you money in doctor bills as Sharon Melnick, author of Success Under Stress, writes that 70% of doctor visits are stress-related.
In today’s go, go, go society, instances of burnout are on the rise. Vacation helps to alleviate the contributors to burnout, such as chronic stress. Some studies have found that stress levels can remain lowered even following vacation.
Not having enough time off (or not taking all allotted vacation days) can contribute to burnout. So don’t allow your precious paid vacation days to escape you.
When we return from vacation we feel reenergized, rejuvenated and ready to dive back into our work. An ABC News article highlighted that people “are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation.” Do you have goals that need some resuscitation? Maybe a vacation is just the thing you need to get back on track.
Vacation also boosts creativity, according to an article in Forbes. With some added creativity, we arrive at solutions quicker, make better decisions and bring more powerful ideas to the table.
We are social creatures. Often, we vacation together with the people we care about most. With all the hustle and bustle of our overstuffed lives, it is easy to continually focus on the next thing and overlook the moments to really connect.
This is one of my favorite gifts of vacation, sharing experiences together and enjoying life with the people I love. We need these times to reconnect and grow in our relationships with our spouses, family and friends.
I genuinely hope you’re convinced and inspired to take a much needed vacation. Your family, employer and those you serve will thank you.
Question: Where are you going on vacation this year? I’d love to hear about your next adventure in the comments below.