The average vacation for a family of four can cost upwards of $6,000, depending on where you go and the different entertainment and accommodations you have. This number increases when you add more people or choose more luxurious options.
Vacations can be expensive, but it’s more than the cost keeping people from taking vacation time. While some individuals may not be paid when they take vacation time, many more feel like they don’t need to take time off, are too overwhelmed at work, or fear falling behind and not giving their employer a good perception of their work ethic.
Studies show that more individuals are taking less and less vacation time, which can be detrimental to their physical and psychological well-being. In fact, skipped vacation time correlated to higher cases of heart disease, with a 42% increase in heart attacks and a 19% increase in strokes.
Neuroscientists have determined that chronic stress can change a person’s brain structure and increase their levels of anxiety and depression. By getting away from the source of the recurring stress, an individual is able to reset, relax, and relieve the stress that has become chronic.
Additional benefits of taking more vacation time includes increasing your motivation, growing your familial relationships, improving your quality of sleep, helping you to be more physically fit, decreasing work burnout, and increasing your overall state of happiness.
There are various ways to help counteract the negative impact of overworking. By making the time for a vacation, despite an individual’s perceived negative repercussions, they can begin to realize the many benefits that time away from the office creates.
Add Vacation Time to Your Yearly Calendar
Many employers already have built-in vacation time on their calendar due to previously scheduled national and traditional holidays. To maximize your time away from the office –without feeling the guilt from taking time off– evaluate your company’s own holiday calendar.
Utilize this calendar and first determine what dates may be suboptimal for getting away – these are your blackout dates. After making these determinations, establish what dates would work best for you and can be extended into a weekend. This allows you to use less of your vacation days but still have a relaxing, extended break.
Remember, you do not need to travel to enjoy a vacation. By merely taking time away from the office and finding ways to relieve your stress, your health will benefit from your efforts.
Invest in Local Fun
If you are having trouble getting out of town, remember it is not always the location you travel to that improves your health, but your ability to “vacate” the office and the normal routine and stress that it entails.
Instead, invest in local fun and entertainment to maximize the fun and relaxation on your days off. Invest in memberships to local attractions, or purchase a boat that allows you to get outdoors and soak in that fresh air.
Continue to maximize the fun of your boat investment by turning a three-day weekend into an onboard camping retreat. Many lakes allow individuals to anchor their boats and sleep aboard. Just turn on your boat lights and embrace the evening glow of the lake as the water gently rocks you to sleep.
By not taking time off of work, you are actually harming your health. It is time to change the mindset that vacations or time off reflect poorly on employers. Taking time off will benefit your employers in the long run as it will contribute to healthier, happier, and more productive individuals.