It’s no a secret that Americans don’t take advantage of their vacation days. A study by the U.S. Travel Association found that 4 out of 10 Americans aren’t going to use all of their vacation days this year. And for those who do utilize their days off, I’d hazard a guess that a vast majority are mentally in the office-checking emails and thinking about the work left behind. Studies show that this refusal to unplug can actually be harmful to your health.
The New York Times explains in a study on stress that a vacation or break is good for your physical health, as stress can take a serious toll on your heart. This study showed that human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. We are meant to move between spending and recovering energy. So biologically, your brain and body need the break. Gregory Hickock from University of California Irvine said that our brains don’t have a way to preserve and pool energy. So when you refuse to unplug and recharge, you are on the path to burning yourself out. Taking a vacation is like pushing the reset button for our brain.
Besides mental and physical needs, vacations are also proven to increase productivity in the workplace. Whenworkers return to the office they are more likely to put a greater emphasis on the work they have to make up. Stepping away from the stress for a few days can also give you a new perspective when you come back to the office. A break facilitates higher energy levels, creativity and fresh ideas when you return to the office.
So this Labor Day Weekend put down the phone, log off your email and kick those feet up. Your brain, and your boss, will thank you.