Vacationing Is Good For Your Happiness…And Health

The United States is one of only a handful of countries in the world that has zero mandated vacation days for employees. And the average population of the other countries on the list is just over 80 thousand compared to the 325 million for the U.S.

Additionally, only about half of all American workers end up using the days they earn, according to Project Time Off, an organization focused on individuals utilizing time off as a means for personal well-being.

The statistics don’t favor Americans compared to other developed nations in the world when it comes to allotted vacation and utilized vacation. Several cases can be posited to explain the reasoning behind vacation habits of American workers and when asked, workers often present a litany of excuses for not taking time off.

“There will be too much work waiting for me when I get back.”

“I try to take vacations, but by the time I start looking, everything is already booked.”

 “Everything will fall apart without me.”

These are just a few excuses people come up with to forgo the time off they deserve and need. Other reasons to explain the long standing trend can be attributed to decades ago and the early foundations of the country. It can be hard to value something that has little to no precedent. Many American kids grew up with parents who were either not given vacation or opted to work instead of taking the time off.  Following the industrial revolution and as the U.S. began establishing itself as a global superpower, workers and industries were pushed to their limits of productivity.

Regardless of the reasons for Americans under-utilizing vacation over the years, recent studies have suggested taking time off at least once a year can have great benefits for health.

Stress Reduction – Vacations work to reduce stress by removing individuals from the activities and environments that tend to cause stress and anxiety, according to a study by the American Psychological Association. Mental health professionals suggests all research points in the same direction and those who don’t take time off are generally more sick, more stressed, less productive, and have higher levels of anxiety.

Heart Disease Prevention – The 1992 Framingham Heart Study stands as the gold standard for long-term heart health studies. The studies factor in many different variables in determining heart health, one of which is vacationing in men and women. The studies suggest men who don’t take vacations were 30{8638ccd9af8282cbf0f67b1fdb6786def932c7d7210936cf91a8c530d7383d94} more likely to have a heart attack and for women it went up to 50{8638ccd9af8282cbf0f67b1fdb6786def932c7d7210936cf91a8c530d7383d94}. Those numbers hold true even after researchers take into account other health factors like diabetes, cigarette smoking, income levels and obesity. The conclusions from the study have been backed up by other similar research studies.

Better Sleep – About 1/4 of all Americans reported having trouble sleeping, according to a Consumer Reports study from 2016. A lack of sleep can lead to less focus, less alertness, impaired memory, an increased likelihood of accidents and a decreased quality of life. Researchers say vacations can help interrupt habits that disrupt sleep, like working late into the night or watching a back-lit screen before bed. If you have stress from work and you find your sleep is disrupted because of anxiety or tension, take time off and learn to reset your sleep pattern.

As summer arrives, make sure to prioritize vacation and take note of your increased production, reduced stress, and overall improved happiness and health.

Contact a travel concierge or submit a travel request today.