Why you should use your vacation days
Pack your bags and take a break from the daily grind.
You've got those vacation days coming to you – you've earned them – but if you're like many Americans, you're not taking the time off that's due to you. In fact, U.S. workers skipped over half (54%) of their earned vacation days last year.
Workers cite worries about being replaced or getting behind on their work as reasons so many vacation days are being left unused. And many say they would take more time off if they felt supported and encouraged by their boss. But don't think that working more instead of vacationing is the key to a long, successful life. In fact, skipping vacations may have a steeper cost than you think when it comes to your health and well-being.
Here are some reasons to get your much-deserved R&R:
- You may live longer. The Framingham Heart Study found that frequency of women's vacations was connected to their future risk of heart disease. The study followed women for two decades and showed that those who took vacations once every 6 years or less were almost 8 times more likely to have a heart attack or die from coronary disease compared to women who took 2 or more vacations each year.
- You might weigh less. While no one can guarantee you'll be slimmer simply because you went on vacation, a study at the University of Pittsburgh showed that participants who spent the most time engaged in leisure activities had a lower body mass index (BMI) and smaller waist circumference. That's a good enough reason to get away and have some fun, don't you think?
- You'll help reduce stress. It makes sense that getting away from the busyness of your everyday life can lower stress, but the benefits may last long after you return to your desk. Taking vacation may reduce stress-related physical ailments such as headaches, backaches and heart palpitations even weeks after you get back to work, according to research. Managing stress is associated with a healthier lifestyle and a decreased risk of heart disease, so a stress-reducing vacation is good for your health in more ways than one.