Americans are basically terrible at taking time away from work. Whether it's because we just don't have enough paid time off to plan a real vacation or because we think the world will end if we step away from our desks for more than a day, either way we're majorly missing out on much-needed time to relax and regroup. Sometimes not taking a vacation does more harm than good, because too many hours in the office can cause you to burn out.
If you needed an extra push to take a long vacation, then we're here to happily help you on your way to a place where you can stick your toes in the sand and sip something cold and strong. I spent time at Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe Resort, a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic — one so beautiful and relaxing, you'd actually have to try to be stressed there. After just a few days, I already felt more refreshed and inspired. Here's why you actually need that vacation this holiday season . . . just trust us.
1. You can truly relax and rest.
You may be able to wind down on weekends sometimes, but when you carve out a solid week (or more!) for a vacation, you are able to really get out of work mode. You can catch up on sleep and work on getting rid of habits that tend to contribute to stress.
2. Taking vacation is good for your health.
Relaxing and getting away from your worries — both personal and professional — can help lower anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, which can in turn lower the risk of heart disease and chronic illness caused by stress.
3. It improves your productivity.
Everyone has their limits, and pushing yourself too far can actually be counterproductive. Out of nearly 500 human resources managers, 90 percent believed that employees were more productive as a result of taking time off.
4. Our brains are hard-wired to be happier near water.
It's true! Water calms us, connects us to the world, and gives us clarity. So keep that clear blue water in mind when making your travel plans.
5. You become more open-minded.
Traveling can improve your cultural awareness, and if you travel with family, friends, or a significant other, it can help you generate positive feelings toward the people in your life you are vacationing with. Studies say these effects continue after returning home, which can overall improve your relationships in the long run.
6. Because your boss and co-workers can (and will) survive without you.
While we're sure you're an asset to your team, that doesn't mean the team can't function without you. Trust that things will get done even in your absence, and whatever doesn't get done can be taken care of when you get back. Either way, the world will NOT end.
7. You'll come back inspired.
When you allow yourself to relax, you're able to open other creative parts of your mind that you may not be using on a day-to-day basis. You can bring this inspiration (and maybe some new ideas) back with you when you return to reality.
8. Because you only live once.
It's easy to continue to put off taking time off for countless reasons (all of which may be very valid!), but it's so easy to just keep doing that forever. There's no better time than now to make your dream trip happen, so cancel whatever "urgent" plans you may have and start packing. Taking a vacation isn't a luxury — it's essential to your well-being.