According to Glassdoor's Q1 2014 Employment Confidence Survey, the average U.S. employee only takes half of his or her eligible vacation time. While taking a vacation and actually using up all your days off might seem like an unnecessary luxury that falls to the bottom of your priority list, a getaway is actually more necessary for your health and wellness routine than you think!
If you're worried that no one else will be able to handle your daily tasks at work, or the thought of the pile of work that will be left on your desk when you come back is giving you major anxiety, this is just further proof you need a break from the daily demands of your life.
Ernest & Young, an accounting firm, did an internal study of its employees in 2006 that found for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors improved by 8%. Why? A well rested and rejuvenated mind is often more effective and has improved intellectual functioning.
As demonstrated by several studies, vacations are certainly known for reducing stress. What we tend to forget is that by reducing stress, we also reduce the risk for several health conditions like headaches, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and immune system distress. Blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of epinephrine – a stress hormone – tend to decline after only one or two days away.
Plus, a vacation also gives you the opportunity to catch up on both sleep and exercise!
Vacations can strengthen relationships in two ways: 1) by giving your family the opportunity to spend time together outside of your normal, most likely stressful, daily routine, or 2) giving you a much needed break to rejuvenate and refresh from your responsibilities within your family dynamic - let's face it, we all need time away from our loved ones sometimes. In a previous study, 53% of Americans said they come back feeling reconnected with their family after vacation.
It doesn't need to be 3 plane rides south in the Caribbean or a 2 week road trip across the country. Just planning a few nights away where you can leave your worries behind will do the trick! AND it's not just the time away that's beneficial. Having something to look forward to is incredibly rewarding and you can feel the planning effects up to 8 weeks before your trip!