Vacation Time. Take It. Here's Why.

A young couple takes a selfie while on vacation in the mountains.Ever send a meeting invite or call a co-worker and immediately get an out of office message or voicemail? I’m usually struck with the sudden need to dream about booking some lavish vacation. And believe it or not, I’m not alone. Millions of Americans let their vacation and paid time off (PTO) collect dust in their banks every year. This not only leaves billions in economic growth on the table, but there are some health benefits to using the vacation time to help refresh and reboot your health. 

What We Leave Behind

In a survey conducted by the job site Glassdoor, only 23 percent of workers used all their PTO in the last 12 months. Additionally, if they do take a break, they’re increasingly likely to work remotely. Despite an improving economy over the last several years, these numbers continue to grow. According to Glassdoor, many employees believe that taking their vacation makes them look dispensable and they feel anxious about job security. However, they may be doing more harm than good.

Project Time Off

One group noticed the stigma surrounding the idea of taking vacation time and its effects on employees. Project Time Off is seeking to shift our culture to understand that time off is essential to personal well-being, professional success, business performance and economic expansion. 

Research collected from a roundup of similar studies throughout the United States shows that there are multiple health benefits to treating yourself to a few R & R days.The research found that those who took regular vacations were less likely to be depressed, had a lower stress level and displayed improved productivity when returning to work. The benefits of vacation also extended to lowering blood pressure and minimizing the risk of certain heart conditions.

Put Up Your Own Out of Office

So as the holidays approach, consider using a few of those days for a short vacation. Or make it a staycation to do a little shopping, spend some time with the kids making cookies or going to the park, or find a leisure activity that will help you refresh and unwind.