Vacations. We talk about them, dream about them, and plan for them, but when it comes down to it, we don’t actually take them — and it’s affecting our health. And our productivity. In the words of “Hamilton” creator, Lin Manuel Miranda, “It was no accident that the best idea I’ve ever had in my life — perhaps the best one I’ll ever have in my life — came to me on vacation.”
If you’re like the average American and only use about half of your vacation days each year, here are some things to consider before you walk away (or work away) from your hard-earned time off.
Vacations Interrupt Stress
Science has shown that the health effects of taking a vacation are more than anecdotal (although that relaxed, vacation vibe speaks for itself). Physically and emotionally, vacations have a positive effect. By removing us from the activities and environments that we associate with stress and anxiety, they have been shown to:
- Improve sleep
- Decrease blood pressure
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Increase creativity and productivity
- Improve well-being, mood, and happiness
Unfortunately, even with the promise of these health benefits (you had me at sleep), Americans are still reluctant to take vacations. The reasons are what you might expect: worries about leaving work and the cost of taking a vacation.
What You Can Do
First and foremost, you should enter to win the Relax, Recharge, Renew Sweepstakes for a chance to melt your stress away in beautiful Greece. The prize package* includes:
- Hotel accommodations for 5 nights
- 2 round-trip coach airline tickets from Philadelphia
- Round-trip airport/hotel transfers
- Spa treatment for 2
- 2 GeoBlue Voyager short-term international medical policies
Second, since only one person can win the Relax, Recharge, Renew getaway, now’s the perfect time to start planning your next vacation. Project: Time Off suggests trying to plan your vacations for the entire year. If that’s too daunting, try for 2 – 3 months out. That will give both you and your manager time to plan for your absence.
*Not refundable for cash. Required book-by 12/31/18. Actual travel may occur after book-by date but no later than December 1, 2019. Tickets redeemable at Travel and Transport solely. Holiday and some other blackout dates of travel apply. Booking must be made at least 90 days in advance.