By Sunny Simon

According to a survey created by Skift, a corporate travel content website, 41% of Americans did not take a day off in 2015. Sad, but true, many in the workforce either lose the vacation days allotted to them, or opt for cash in lieu of time off.

If you are thinking of foregoing or putting off a vacation this summer due to the mountains of work on your desk, or the dread of coming back to a barrage of emails that might take three days to get through, banish that thought right now. Going without a vacation can lead to job resentment, increased stress, declining performance and eventually burn-out.

Individuals with a workaholic mentality often sport their long hours with no time off as a badge of honor. Adhering to a work-only schedule can not only cause problems with memory, studies show the stress accompanying long work hours with no break affect the brain’s ability to support goal directed activities. Lack of time off may also affect your sleep patterns. Studies conducted by Air New Zealand suggest vacationer sleep better both during time away and upon returning home.

Research strongly suggests vacations are beneficial not only to an employee’s health and wellbeing, but also to employers. According to business consultant, Irma Parone, of Parone Group, “Turnover issues that cost business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars each year could be lowered if employers encouraged staff to take time away from the workplace to refresh and renew.” In addition to seeing a decline in turnover statistics, employers benefit when workers return from vacations with restored enthusiasm which can contribute to increased creativity and productivity.

Perhaps it’s time to stop putting your work life before your physical and mental health. Pull out your calendar right now and block out a week to escape the constant routine of your job. Then come up with a plan. If your ideal vacation is jetting off to Maui for two weeks but your bank account is not in sync, begin with some out of the box brainstorming. Settle on a beach closer to home, or borrow your neighbor’s tent and head off to the woods. Don’t like roughing it? Get creative with a Stay-cation by planning interesting day trips within 60 miles of home.

Whatever your plan, upon work re-entry you will feel happier, more relaxed and ready to take on some new challenges.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog, www.lifeonthesunnyside.net

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