Travel: 4 Reasons Taking Vacation is More Important Than You Think

Did you know that 41% of American workers don’t take all of their vacation days despite the fact that 96% of respondents recognized the value of taking time off?

Uuuuuhhhh...why do we do that?!

Research says it's because workers fear the work they’ll find on their desk when they return. 

But,  without downtime, workers are less productive, less engaged, and just plain less happy at work. 

It’s not just fear, though. Americans are taking less vacations overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data showed that more than 9 million people took a vacation in July 1976, but now that number is closer to 7 million for 2014. In fact, a 2012 survey by Harris Interactive Inc. found Americans leave 9.2 days of vacation unused.

Here's four ways why vacay time is crucial:

Better physical health:
The New York Times reported that a vacation can help your physical health — the stress of working can take a serious toll on your heart. For both men and women, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.

Improved mental health
U.S. News and World report spoke to experts who noted that when on vacation "feelings of calm arise and relieve the stress, which allow the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure."

Working all the time and getting things done might make you think you’re the king of the world. But your brain is feeling something completely different. Research by the University of California Irvine found that our brains don’t have a reserve pool to gather energy and power from. Vacations can help reset your mind.

And when you return to work, count on being more productive if you’re taking vacations.

Closer family relationships
Psychologists report that one of the biggest benefits of taking a family vacation is the increase family bonding, especially when a lot of the activities have to do with talking about memories or even sharing stressful moments together.

couple vacation

Newer perspectives
If you get a chance to step away from work for awhile and enjoy the summer sun, when you come back to work, you’ll have a totally new outlook on life. 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.


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