Long gone are the days when summer vacation was a given — that golden era when you knew exactly how you’d be spending your break way before finals rolled around. These days, you’re probably so focused on climbing the corporate ladder that the notion of taking a vacation has completely drifted from your consciousness.
You’re not alone: According to the latest Alamo Rent A Car Family Vacation Survey, nearly half of Americans don’t take a vacation. Along with that near-majority, you probably have a million excuses for why you can’t take a summer vacation, but here are five life-changing reasons why you should.
1. A vacation makes you better at your job
A lot of people worry that if they take a vacation, they might lose their job. But the reality is that if you don’t take one, you’re at risk for burnout and your job performance could suffer. Getting away from the daily grind — the alarms, commute, and constant email contact — means that you’ll come back recharged and focused.
Travel also stimulates the mind and can offer you a fresh perspective, which may help you develop more creative problem-solving skills. Just think, your improved job performance and productivity could lead to a raise or promotion — all because you finally took that trip to Hawaii.
66% of Millennials say they’ve decided where to go or what to do on vacation based on seeing photos on social media.Tweet
2. All work and no play makes you dull
Vacation shaming is actually a thing: More than two-thirds of Millennials expressed feeling guilty about going on vacation, with 40% admitting that this struggle is real enough to prevent them from taking it. Even if you’ve earned it, it can be hard to ask for time off, especially if your boss doesn’t set a good example by taking a vacation himself. But not taking a vacation can lead to job dissatisfaction and resentment, making you a complete bummer to be around and potentially putting a strain on your work relationships.
81% of Millennials say they’ve taken a family vacation with their parents since becoming an adult.Tweet
3. A weekend away keeps the doctor at bay
Taking a vacation is good for your health — it’s science. Getting away from it all helps reduce stress, which in turn reduces your chances of getting sick (so you’ll take less sick days, too).
In addition, many studies show that taking a vacation can benefit your heart health. One such finding shows that at-risk men who skipped vacations were 30% more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who took off a week every year. Even if you just started a new job or haven’t accrued enough vacation time, consider taking a long weekend away with your best friend, or plan a staycation to take a little R&R. Your body and mind will thank you.
1 in 5 American workers who gets paid vacation uses all of his or her vacation days to actually go on a vacation.Tweet
4. Time off can make you happier
Is your job worth sacrificing your happiness for? According to research, women who don’t take regular vacations are three times more likely to be anxious and depressed. Those who did take regular vacations reported feeling extremely happy, even after the post-vacation glow wore off. Taking a vacation can also help strengthen your personal relationships — whether you’re lounging in the sun with your crew or museum-hopping with loved ones, taking a vacation helps to foster close bonds, not to mention providing Instagram-worthy moments.
5. A solo vacation can help push you out of your comfort zone
Trying to schedule your friends’ time can be a logistical nightmare, so even if you don’t have anyone to travel with, consider going by yourself. You can go where you want, when you want, without having to worry about anyone else’s needs. In addition, travel is full of situations where you’re forced to talk to people you don’t know, which can help you naturally practice networking skills. Plus, the change in routine and all that me-time can give you a new perspective and leave you recharged and refreshed for when you return to work.
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