Vacations are no longer a luxury only the wealthy can afford – everyone can and should be taking vacations each year, but for reasons that are more important than just working on your tan. Research has shown that aside from being fun and exciting, vacations also contribute to living a happy, healthy and well-balanced life.
But it has also shown that many of us leave at least some of our vacation time on the table for a variety of job-related reasons, from worrying about the piles of work waiting for us upon our return, to concerns that our bosses or managers may not look favorably upon our decision to take a well-deserved break.
If this sounds familiar, read on about the many important benefits of using vacation time – including increased productivity at work–and why you should absolutely use yours.
Reason 1: It’s Heart Smart
It’s been reported that a vacation can help reduce work-related stress that can take a serious toll on your heart, and that taking a vacation at least every two years can lessen the chance of coronary disease in both men and women.1
Reason 2: It Will Restore You
You’ll be more productive at work after a vacation. That’s because humans aren’t designed to continually expend energy. According to research, the need to renew ourselves is rooted in our physiology. Findings also indicated that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved by 8 percent.2 We’re built to work hard, and then we need time to recover. And what better way to recover than a vacation?
Reason 3: It’ll Bring You Closer to Loved Ones
One of the biggest benefits of a vacation is the positive impact it can have on family relationships. Vacations increase family bonding, especially when a lot of the activities have to do with talking about memories or sharing happy moments together, away from daily routines and stress. Vacations are about new experiences. They take you somewhere different – away from home and the same old routine. They provide a physical and emotional reset by exposing you and your loved ones to new and exciting places, people and shared experiences that enrich and strengthen family bonds.
Reason 4: It Provides Perspective
CNN reported that when you take a step back from problems and stress, you’re bound to gain a better perspective and come out with more satisfying answers.3 Vacation has the power to help you gain insights, appreciate the present moment, and return to your daily routine with a renewed sense of excitement.
Reason 5: It Sharpens Your Mind
According to research by cognitive science professor Gregory Hickok of the University of California at Irvine, our brains don’t have endless reserves of power to draw from, and that time off actually helps power up our minds, like a tune-up helps a car.4 Bottom line: vacations help you hit your “brain reset” button and reinvigorate your neurons.
Reason 6: It Reduces Burnout
One of the key benefits of regularly taking time off to relax is that it can help keep you more creative and productive at work. Vacations can actually help prevent burnout, which can rob you of your motivation, enthusiasm and creativity. By taking time off to recharge your batteries, your brain will be well-rested and better able to tackle your workload. Your boss or manager will certainly appreciate that!
Reason 7: It Heals the Body & Soul
Rest, relaxation, and stress reduction are very important for your health and well-being. A vacation provides all of these, as it helps to induce feel-good, stress-relieving emotions. These allow the body and mind to heal in ways that they couldn’t if they were still under day-to-day pressure.
With all the remarkable benefits vacations provide, it just makes good sense to use your paid time off – all of it.
- “Take a Vacation, for Your Health’s Sake.” New York Times, 8 June 2008.
- “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive.” New York Times, 9 February 2013.
- “Why Your Brain Needs Vacations.” CNN, 24 May, 2011.
- “Why You Need a Vacation.” Chicago Tribune, 18 August 2014