Nearly 40% of Americans aren’t using all of their allotted vacation time. Why? Two reasons. 40% of workers stress about the pile of work they’ll find on their desk when they return, and 67% feel like their company doesn’t promote taking time off. Despite the negative connotations sometimes associated with using PTO for vacation, here are 6 benefits of unplugging and taking some much-needed time off:
- Gain a new perspective. As you step away from the immediate demands of the workplace and ponder a question that’s been on your mind, you’re more likely to gain a clear answer. An example of this, according to CNN, would be when you ask your friend for advice on a situation. The friend is removed from the scenario, and thus can offer advice more easily.
- Better physical health. A little time away from the office reduces stress and can even improve your physical health. According to studies on cardiovascular health, men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30% more likely to have heart attacks compared to men who did not take time off. Women who vacation only once every six years or less were eight times more likely to develop heart disease compared to women who vacation twice a year. Combine that with lower blood pressure and smaller waistlines, and you owe it to yourself to take a break from the office once in a while!
- Better mental health. According to a study performed by the University of California Irvine, vacations can reset and refresh our minds. They reported that “if we had a huge amount of brain power in reserve, we might not need vacations. We could just tap those beach-lolling brain cells. But we don’t. Time off tunes up a well-functioning brain.”
- Closer family relationships. Perhaps the most important benefit of vacation time is the bonds we establish with those we love. Psychology expert Susan Krauss Whitborne said, “Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities (school, work and so on) help to promote these positive ties. Though family vacations can have their own share of stress, the benefits outweigh the risks, even in families that are not particularly close.”
- Increased productivity. The best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. A study from Harvard University shows that sleep deprivation costs American companies an estimated $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. Vacations help you unwind, recharge, and rest up. In fact, those who vacation more often score higher on end-of-year performance ratings from their supervisors.
- Receive inspiration about your work. The best ideas often come when you’re not actively looking for them. Creativity is sure to blossom as you reconnect with nature, family, and friends, rather than under the immense pressure that comes from meeting work deadlines and attending meetings. Take it from Rieva Lesonsky, the CEO of GrowBiz Media: “Vacations help us change the view, which can spark an idea or kick start creative thinking.”