Vacation time is important, and as it stands most of Americans only use half of their paid vacation days. Add that to the fact that Americans have the least paid vacation time across the world and you wonder how we don’t collapse into nervous breakdowns twice a year. NPR details just how different paid vacations are across the world, highlighting that on average Americans have just 12 days, while the law protects those in Germany with up to 20, the Netherlands guarantees 26 days, and the UK offers 28. A Harris Interactive survey discovered that Americans have on average 9 vacation days remaining at the end of the period.
WebMD discusses the importance of taking breaks. Being unable to disconnect from work affects personal relationships, and your overall health and wellbeing. Additionally, up to 8 weeks after your break, you can be left with that feel good boost.
Not everyone is in a financial position to head off to Europe or Hawaii. It doesn’t have to be a luxurious break for you to see the true effects of a vacation.
Just imagine it- freedom from work. That means not having to check voicemails and emails constantly after you’ve left for the day. And you may think that working hard without a break makes you a more valuable asset to your employer- but you’d be wrong. A Lexis Nexis survey canvassed workers across 5 countries to discover just how workers are feeling. Information overload has left over 50% at breaking point. Many workers admit that they feel obliged to check emails while vacationing. That is not a true break.
The majority of Americans are under stress, and whether it may come from our working lives, family or monetary issues, the toll of can be massive. Stress impacts our immune systems- making it difficult to resist infections, or avoid injury. Being stressed out interferes with sleep, too, and when you’re tired and stressed out you are even more susceptible to illness or accidents. Additionally, it has an impact on digestion. Then there is the mental toll it is taking- it can leave you irritable and anxious, as well as in a state of depression. Your memory begins to fail and you are left making poor decisions.
Vacations are an opportunity to break the cycle of stress. Don’t worry if you can’t make it out of town, you can make a staycation work for you just as well as a spa retreat. Even if you can escape for a couple of days out of your week to stay at a local hotel, do it. Allow yourself the time to shut off and relax.
There are plenty of sites to help you find exactly what you’re looking for at a price you can afford, so check them out: booking.com, hotelfinder.com, Best Hotel Offers, and more.
Never feel guilty about taking vacation time, and don’t feel tempted to check your emails or messages.
By Claudia Portillo