Why You Need To Take A Vacation: Three Science-Backed Reasons

Why You Need To Take A Vacation: Three Science-Backed Reasons
0

There’s never been a more critical time to address our national obsession with work – now, following one of the most stressful periods in recent history, is when we must establish new norms and reorient our approach to labor and leisure.

That’s why I’m telling you to take a vacation.

As a cognitive scientist, I’m well acquainted with the research that shows how prioritizing our jobs above all else damages our mental, physical, and emotional health.

Americans are notorious workaholics and it’s time to change that.

In 2020, the average workday increased by nearly an hour – with productivity, especially among remote workers, increasing, even as about 92% of us have shortened, postponed, or canceled our planned time off since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Years ago, things weren’t much better: More than half of us (55%) didn’t take full advantage of our paid vacation time in 2018, resulting in 768 million unused days, according to an online survey of 1,025 American workers.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that more hours spent working won’t necessarily net better results. Workplaces in Iceland, for example, recently tested a 35-hour workweek to “overwhelming success.” During the world’s largest-ever trial of a reduced-hour workweek in the public sector, researchers found that productivity remained unchanged or even increased in the majority of workplaces, while well-being and work-life balance improved. Even lawmakers here in the U.S. are starting to take notice: In late July 2021, a congressman from California introduced legislation that would reduce the standard working week from 40 hours to 32 hours for U.S. employees.

Given that most of us don’t see a reduced workweek in our futures anytime soon, why not focus on reasons why you should use your paid time off and book a vacation this summer? Here are three:

Better Mental and Physical Health 

Many of us feel like we need to be “on” all the time, especially since the boundaries between home and work have virtually disappeared for most professionals in the work-from-home era. But answering emails from supervisors and colleagues deep into the night on workdays and around the clock on weekends has consequences. Psychologists have recently proposed that burnout at work is actually a form of job-related depression. It’s clear that, over time, the inability to rest and relax, to focus on other areas of one’s life, takes a toll on mental and physical health.

In 2020, for example, an Australian study that surveyed more than 2,200 higher education universities employees found that those with bosses who expected them to respond to after-hours work messages, compared to employees who didn’t have such expectations, reported higher levels of psychological distress (70.4% vs. 45.2%); emotional exhaustion (63.5% vs. 35.2%); and physical ailments, including headaches and back pain (22.1% vs. 11.5%).

Overwork can even be deadly: Logging 55 or more hours a week on the job is a “serious health hazard,” according to a new study by the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization, which estimates that long working hours led to 745,000 deaths worldwide in 2016 – a 29% increase from 16 years earlier.

When you keep work from occupying all your time and, instead, take advantage of your well-deserved paid time off, you’ll be safeguarding your mental and physical health by boosting well-being, protecting against metabolic syndrome, and enhancing cardiovascular health, among many other benefits.

Improved Relationships

Extended work shifts and overtime can also damage our personal relationships since jobs that become all-consuming get in the way of spending quality time with family members, friends, and pets.

About 10% of those who work 50-60 hours per week and 30% of those who work more than 60 hours per week experience relationship problems, respectively, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A significant body of research shows that more time spent together in shared activities is linked to higher marital satisfaction.

If, however, this time is repeatedly interrupted by emails or text messages from bosses and coworkers, the quality of these moments diminish substantially.

Fully unplugging can be especially difficult for younger people. A recent study found that 25% of Millennials and Gen Xers check their work emails multiple times a day while on vacation.

To build and strengthen bonds, it’s critical to give your loved ones your full attention. Whether you’re spending time together on a planned vacation, a “staycation,” or just enjoying a three-day holiday weekend by playing a board game and ordering a pizza, make sure you prioritize your personal relationships. Ensuring that those who matter most to you feel valued – at least as much, if not more than your job – is essential for real connection.

A separate study found that women who take frequent vacations are less likely to say they feel tense, depressed, or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriages. Women have been impacted far worse during the pandemic, so now is a time when they should take a moment for themselves, enjoy life, and prepare for what could still be a tough road ahead as we look to return to a post-COVID world.

Increased Creativity and Better Problem Solving

You might think that the way to advance your career is to put in more hours, but that’s not true.

Being overworked contributes to burnout and makes it more difficult to engage in creative problem solving, which ultimately hurts productivity. The failure to take breaks can actually delay career advancement. Constantly working, in fact, has been shown to provide no net career benefits. Those who take fewer vacation days are actually less likely to receive pay raises or bonuses when compared to their colleagues who make time for rest.

Some workers struggle to wrap their heads around the “less is more” approach to their jobs, but upon further reflection, it becomes clear. Those who are pulled in countless directions at the office, overloaded with projects, and barely able to keep up with deadlines have little time to think strategically about their positions and ways to achieve improvements for the organization.

Workplaces want to elevate employees who are forward thinkers and strategic problem solvers with visionary ideas, not overtaxed employees who make sloppy mistakes because they’re sleep deprived and have lost all passion for the job.

To achieve optimal performance, we must give our minds regular breaks. Getting outside and spending time in nature – greening the brain – is one of the best ways to gain these restorative perks. Even a 5-10 minute walk in the park without your phone can provide the mental distance needed to relax and think more creatively once you’re back at your desk.

Summary

Much to our detriment, America’s obsession with work means our country provides no minimum annual leave or parental leave; our employees log more hours per year than workers in Japan, Canada, and the U.K.; and many of us feel guilty when we take even a brief respite from our jobs.

That approach isn’t getting workers anywhere. We need to recognize that we’re not machines – and being a workaholic isn’t laudable; it’s actually counterproductive.

Those who force themselves – or are forced by their jobs – to be “on” all the time will eventually burn out and underdeliver. Employees who unplug during non-work hours (nights, weekends, and while on vacation), however, will reap real benefits, returning to work renewed and refreshed.

So go ahead and book that vacation – your long-term health, happiness, and career may depend on it.

Source

Related Blogs

  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Avoiding-Negative-Emotions-Wont-Get-You-Anywhere-236x168.jpg
    Oct 8, 2021
    Avoiding Negative Emotions Won’t…

    I’ve been thinking a lot about dessert lately. What’s the most memorable, delicious bite of dessert you’ve ever tasted? Chances are, it wasn’t a store-bought, plastic-wrapped ball..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/The-vacations-we-dont-take-and-the-price-we-pay-236x168.jpg
    Sep 30, 2021
    The Vacations We Don’t…

    When was the last date you took a vacation? Did you know that not taking a break also has consequences? The Mexican startup Worky, a..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/5-Ways-To-Regain-Your-Focus-On-Work-236x168.jpg
    Aug 27, 2021
    5 Ways To Regain…

    The summer season can make it hard to focus on work. And if you work from home, it is that much more challenging. For example,..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/calm-businesswoman-relaxing-with-breath-gymnastics-236x168.jpg
    Jul 2, 2021
    Stressing The Benefits

    You may find this article stressful. At least, I hope you will. Because stress isn’t something to avoid or flee: it’s a sign that we’re..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/bearded-male-organizing-his-tasks-using-sticky-notes-236x168.jpg
    Jun 25, 2021
    The Power Of ‘One’:…

    The power of one is mesmerizing. We don't realize it, but it can change how we see things. It can help us focus and help..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/The-Two-Levels-Of-Stress-Management-Within-The-Corporate-World-236x168.jpg
    May 21, 2021
    The Two Levels Of…

    Faced with increasing challenges, there are new shifts and changes in today’s corporate world. High levels of competition, new technological advances, demographic adjustments, political turbulence,..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/man-mask-standing-hall-hospital-236x168.jpg
    May 14, 2021
    How To Manage Anxiety…

    If you’re anything like me, you’ve found yourself in a situation like this a few times over the last year. A friend invites you to..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/The-First-Four-Things-You-Should-Do-Every-Workday-236x168.jpg
    Feb 5, 2021
    The First Four Things…

    Ever find that it’s noon and you haven’t accomplished anything on your to-do list? Get a productive jump-start on the day with these tasks. I..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/How-To-Overcome-People-Pleasing-3-Life-Changing-Tips-2-236x168.jpg
    Jan 8, 2021
    How To Overcome People-Pleasing:…

    People-pleasers often find themselves doing things they don’t want to do and putting the needs of others ahead of their own. When they’re asked to do..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/How-to-Give-Creativity-a-Voice-in-the-Workplace-236x168.jpg
    Dec 18, 2020
    How to Give Creativity…

    Today’s organizations spend considerable time and energy selecting and recruiting creative talent. And rightly so. Creative employees help their organizations survive and remain relevant in..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Its-Not-You-The-Real-Reason-Why-Job-Seekers-Face-So-Much-Stress-And-Anxiety-When-Interviewing-236x168.jpg
    Dec 4, 2020
    It’s Not You: The…

    People who are on the job hunt regularly feel dejected and disenchanted with the interview process. They'll point to a multitude of reasons as to..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/6-Powerful-Ways-To-Be-A-Better-Version-Of-Yourself-236x168.jpg
    Nov 6, 2020
    6 Powerful Ways To…

    If you want to do your best work, and have the best time, you have to be the best version of yourself. Consistently, prolifically; the..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/chatting-with-best-friends-cosy-open-air-restaurant-warm-summer-day-236x168.jpg
    Oct 30, 2020
    How To Effectively Answer…

    What do you do? It’s a question that comes up repeatedly at both virtual and in-person networking events. It’s a dreaded question. You tell people..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Four-Simple-Self-Affirming-Mind-Hacks-To-Help-You-Succeed-236x168.jpg
    Oct 9, 2020
    Four Simple Self-Affirming Mind…

    When you’re on the job hunt or navigating the upward trajectory of your career, sometimes you just need a little pep talk. It can be..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Why-Doing-Good-Boosts-Health-And-Well-Being-236x168.jpg
    Oct 2, 2020
    Why Doing Good Boosts…

    Previous studies have suggested that people who engage in helping others are happier and have better mental and physical health than those who don’t spend..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/How-To-Set-Goals-That-Actually-Work-236x168.jpg
    Sep 18, 2020
    How To Set Goals…

    Back in the day, company leadership would decree their mission and hand down their goals to all their employees. While a few companies still do..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Rebounding-After-A-Job-Loss-236x168.jpg
    Sep 11, 2020
    Rebounding After A Job…

    People have been furloughed or let go at alarming rates these past few months. Never before has the job market experienced this type of shift...

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/4-Morning-Habits-For-A-Highly-Productive-Work-Day-236x168.jpg
    Sep 4, 2020
    4 Morning Habits For…

    Arguably, mornings are the most important part of the day. They can springboard us into a day filled with productivity and inspiration or trigger our..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/New-Study-Shows-Forming-A-Simple-Smile-Tricks-Your-Mind-Into-A-Positive-Workday-Mood-236x168.jpg
    Aug 21, 2020
    New Study Shows Forming…

    “Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone,” goes the song. For decades, singers have crooned about the power of smiling..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/10-Things-You-Need-To-Know-To-Win-In-Business-And-Life-236x168.jpg
    Jul 17, 2020
    10 Things You Need…

    10 Things You Need To Know To Win In Business And Life “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Landed-Out-Of-Work-Ten-Ways-To-Reset-Your-Mindset-236x168.jpg
    Jul 10, 2020
    Landed Out Of Work?…

    Landed Out Of Work? Ten Ways To Reset Your Mindset If you've been furloughed or laid off in recent months, you’re in the company of..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Virtual-Meeting-236x168.jpg
    Mar 21, 2020
    Build a Super Virtual…

    Now’s The Time To Build A Virtual Super-Team. Here’s How. Before the SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 outbreak, millions of Americans worked from home. Suddenly, tens of..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Companys-Culture-236x168.jpg
    Feb 28, 2020
    Your Company Might Offer…

    Your Company Might Offer High Salaries, But Does It Have Soul? It’s a well-established stereotype that large-scale companies are about as approachable as a concrete..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-Resolution-Hacks-236x168.jpg
    Jan 3, 2020
    2020 Resolution Hacks

    Resolution Hacks That Actually Work It’s that time of year again, when we all make New Year's resolutions. But will this year be any different..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/work-life-balance-236x168.jpg
    Dec 13, 2019
    Work-Life Integration

    Move Over, Work-Life Balance. Hello, Work-Life ‘Integration’ As a busy executive, Margaret Keane has had to find creative ways to fit time with her family..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Spend-your-day-wisely-236x168.png
    Nov 22, 2019
    Spend your day wisely

    How To Spend Your Working Day Wisely And Actually Get Things Done Time doesn’t discriminate. The CEO of a Fortune 500 company with an overloaded..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Belonging-at-Work-236x168.png
    Sep 20, 2019
    Belonging At Work

    Belonging At Work Is Essential—Here Are 4 Ways To Foster It In the complex study of human psychology, one finding is remarkably consistent: our well-being..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Back-to-work-236x168.png
    Sep 6, 2019
    Back to Work

    Summer's Over: Here's Why It's The Best Time For Job Seekers And Hiring Managers To Act Now Labor Day has come and gone, which means..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Effective-Time-Management-236x168.jpg
    Aug 30, 2019
    Effective Time Management

    11 Signs You're Not Managing Your Calendar Effectively Time to admit there's a better way to stay on top of your appointments. If you’re like..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Purpose-And-Values-236x168.png
    Aug 16, 2019
    Purpose And Values

    How To Connect With Your Company's Purpose And Values Some employees feel fully inspired by their company's mission, vision and values. But they don’t just mindlessly glug the Kool-Aid—they connect on a deep,..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/369404-PB1FUT-183-236x168.jpg
    Jul 5, 2019
    Overloaded And Overwhelmed?

    Overloaded And Overwhelmed? Four Things You Can Control When Your Workload Is Out Of Control Our research indicates a terrifying 43% of knowledge workers do..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Successful-and-Happy-at-Work-236x168.jpg
    May 24, 2019
    Successful and Happy

    The One Daily Action That Will Make You More Successful And Happier At Work In our fast-paced world where we have more to do than..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/How-To-Escape-Procrastination-236x168.png
    Apr 12, 2019
    How To Escape Procrastination

    How To Escape The Procrastination Doom Loop When you imagine a highly productive person, you likely think of someone who focuses effortlessly on the job..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/job-interview-1-1-236x168.jpg
    Jan 18, 2019
    Things You Should Never…

    14 Things You Should Never, Ever Say In A Job Interview It’s always intimidating to interview for a new job, whether you’re fresh out of..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/why-great-employees-leave-great-cultures-236x168.png
    Dec 7, 2018
    Great Employees Leave Great…

    Why Great Employees Leave “Great Cultures” “We have a great culture.” We have all heard it. We have all said it. But what does that..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Recruitment-in-Cyprus--236x168.jpg
    Oct 26, 2018
    Recruitment in Cyprus

    Recruitment in Cyprus - Thoughts and Ideas from Advance Career Team Read the detailed interview published on TopJobsCyprus website and share your comments and ideas!..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/find-career-clarity-236x168.png
    Oct 19, 2018
    Find Career Clarity!

    How To Find Career Clarity Using Three Top Career Theories Feeling like you need to make a career pivot because your job isn’t a good..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Integrators-VS-Segmentors-236x168.jpg
    Oct 12, 2018
    Integrators VS Segmentors

    Are your employees integrators or segmentors? An organization has both integrators and segmentors. Being a segmentor is a tough ask. If you choose to be..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/What-Motivates-You-to-Work-236x168.jpg
    Sep 21, 2018
    What Motivates You to…

    What Motivates You to Work? That paycheck will never be big enough if it's the only reason you're going to work. Each of us respond..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Tap-Into-Your-Motivation-236x168.jpg
    Sep 7, 2018
    Tap Into Your Motivation!

    Putting Yourself In Drive: How To Tap Into Your Motivation The one common component in every great success story is motivation: an ever-elusive elixir that..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/social-media-236x168.jpg
    Aug 17, 2018
    Social media can cost…

    When 'What Happens In Vegas' Ends Up In Your Job Search   What happens in Vegas really doesn’t stay there. That “funny” picture about that..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Avoid-Summer-Slump-236x168.jpg
    Aug 10, 2018
    Avoid Summer Slump

    How To Improve Productivity For Yourself And Your Team This Summer July and August are historically bad months for productivity. It might be the warm..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/worklife-balance-236x168.jpg
    Jun 22, 2018
    Simple Work-Life Balance

    Work-Life Balance Is Simple. To Succeed at Work, Get a Life. With the right balance of health and business, entrepreneurs can maximize productivity. The Organization..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/the-future-workplace-236x168.png
    Feb 9, 2018
    The future Workspace

    Why a Coffee Shop Will Probably Be Your Workspace Within 10 Years As the gig economy grows, there are both social and scientific reasons why..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Make_2018_a_Productive_Year-236x168.png
    Jan 12, 2018
    Make 2018 a Productive…

    11 Expert Tips To Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Ever Could eating cake for breakfast and never listening to your voicemail help you get..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/happy-colleagues-giving-five-236x168.jpg
    Nov 10, 2017
    Your Impact at Work!

    What Is Your Impact? We keep throwing this word around called "impact." Do you know what your impact is and how would you define, discover,..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/smiling-businessteam-236x168.jpg
    Oct 13, 2017
    Working for small companies

    Why You Should Consider Working For A Small Company Eighty-four percent of small-business employees are happy in their current job, according to the 2017 Aflac..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/man-carries-box-236x168.png
    Sep 15, 2017
    Lost your Job?

    Nine Things You Should and Shouldn't Do If You Lose Your Job Most of us wouldn’t think to associate the words "joblessness" and "fun," but..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/workplace-wellness-236x168.jpg
    Aug 25, 2017
    Top 10 Benefits Of…

    Top 10 Benefits Of A Workplace Wellness Program When Google opened up in the 90s it took a unique approach to employee satisfaction. In an..

    0 Read More
  • https://www.advancecareer.com.cy/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/business-executives-having-meal-236x168.jpg
    Aug 10, 2017
    Friends and Career

    Being Too Busy for Friends Won’t Help Your Career Friendship matters. Everything we do to succeed in our careers is improved when we’re supported by..

    0 Read More