Are you taking a vacation this summer? For some, the answer is yes. But according to a recent study by Kimble Applications, 21 percent of Americans left more than five vacation days on the table this past year.
Work overload, deadlines and stress are all factors associated with employees not taking their paid time off (PTO). When an employee believes their career is on the line, they’re less likely to take vacation time — in fact, the study found that 14 percent of people believe not using vacation days increases their chances for advancement. The danger of pushing time off to the side is that when employees sustain high levels of engagement for a long period of time, they’re at risk for burnout.
Here’s four reasons why you should give yourself a break and take a vacation this summer:
1. You’ll rewind and refresh
We all need time to step away, breathe and refocus our mindset. Time off — whether it’s a long weekend at the lake or a relaxing yoga retreat — gives you a moment to rewind and refresh. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress and with stress related to various health problems, such as heart disease and pain.” And when you push yourself too hard, it can lead to exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy. So give your mind and your body a rest — you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
2. You’ll leave your work at home
With laptops, cellphones and social media, it’s easy to bring your work home with you. Sometimes it’s even expected to be on call 24/7. When you take time off (and we mean really take it off) you’ll leave your work at the office. You might be surprised how rejuvenated you feel after a couple of days not answering calls, emails or texts. When you develop good habits of unplugging and “getting away” it’ll reduce the amount of guilt you feel from taking PTO, and ultimately set you up for better work-life balance. So, set limits, let your co-workers back you up while you’re out and enjoy your vacation.
3. You’ll gain new perspectives
When you travel, you open your mind to new experiences. A vacation just might be the answer to that writer’s block you’re facing. Or maybe it’ll help spark a new idea for a project you’ve been stuck on. Not only does time off promote new ideas, it also increases creativity. Your brain needs vacation. In fact, research found that foreign living experiences lead to creative enhancement. From problem solving to flexibility, when you immerse yourself into another city or culture, you’re stepping out of your cultural norm and into another. So next time you want to travel abroad for a week — don’t think twice.
4. Your relationships will benefit
Vacation typically isn’t just for you — it’s for your kids, family or friends. Work is important, but so are your relationships. A survey from Project: Time Off found that, “People who fail to use time off are losing out on quality time with their significant other (85 percent), their children (85 percent), and themselves (81percent).” Quality time with loved ones is crucial. It can create emotional connections, memories and better your family dynamic.
When it comes to time off, don’t feel guilty or chained to your desk — take the days you need to reset and recharge both mentally and physically to bring your best self to work and home.
Need more convincing? Read more on why there’s no excuse for not taking your vacation days.