Certainly not the first to say this, but did you know? Half of Americans do not use all of their earned vacation time or Paid Time Off (PTO) each year! WHAT?!?! Not going to lie, I was one of those people. Looking back, I self-created an enormous amount of stress and placed it on my own back by simply not taking days off.
I’ve spent more time creating reasons not to take a day off, than actual days off. Thinking to myself, I would come up with obscene reasons not to take a day off. Just a few I can think of off the top of my head:
- Well it’s only Monday (or Tuesday or Wednesday, etc.)
- I don’t want to get used to working so infrequently
- If I take this day, I won’t have enough time for that imaginary vacation I won’t take or haven’t planned
- What if I get sick and can’t work and my bills stack up?
- I don’t have anyone to cover my work or project
- My backup doesn’t seem to keep up with their workload, how could they possibly take care of mine?
- I feel bad putting extra work on my coworkers
I know these, and so many other, reasons pop into the heads of many of us. We feel sorry for others and ourselves for something that, in most cases, is harming no one.
Live Better and Longer
Many studies have been done over the years concerning this very topic. A recent study conducted on Dutch families determined that planning, anticipating, and taking vacations improved happiness. Similarly, several surveys have shown that vacations improve sleep, reduce stress, improve love life, and increase energy.
The New York Times published this article advising that your chance of dying increases 21% by not taking vacations.
Senior Leadership Knows Vacation Time adds Value
The reality is most senior leadership recognizes the importance of employees taking time off. In a great leader’s eyes, the primary beneficiary of any employee taking PTO is the company itself. The rest and relaxation gained on vacation results in better ideas, more creativity, and better overall productivity. Not to forget, taking time off shows confidence that you are leaving your work in good order.
After a long day at work, we go home stressed about work, distracted by our phones and TVs, and do not give ourselves 100% to our family and friends. Spending quality time with your loved ones reconnects you and builds gratitude. It doesn’t hurt to mention improved love life again.
Challenge your group to a spontaneous road trip or teach each other a new hobby or skill. Try camping or international travel and shoot for a low technology adventure while opening you up to new perspectives! Visit a new place or visit somewhere from your childhood and share some of your past experiences. The break from strict schedules and outside drama is refreshing.
YOU WANT TO!!!!
Let’s be honest; you do not need a reason to take a vacation. Just take one! We all need time for ourselves, whether alone or shared with others. Whether you stay-cation, take day trips or travel far and wide is totally up to you.
Relaxation is essential! Maybe you just need a day or two to catch up on errands that have been hanging over your head. Possibly you have been dying to start a new hobby or read a certain book. Have fun and enjoy yourself! Carpe diem.
Keep the conversation going; comment below and let us know about your next vacation!