Why Vacations are Important

Passport stamps on wallWhen I worked in Corporate America, one of my bosses was notorious for working 24 hours a day. I’d arrive at work with emails sent from her at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. On a vacation with her grandchildren at Disneyland, she called regarding materials that were coming in from the print shop. One Christmas morning she stopped by the office to “catch up.”

What did she achieve? That’s a good question. She was frazzled, pulled through the days by can after can of soda. Her paranoia regarding our department’s achievements was incredibly severe, as if our lives depended on it.

And therein is where the problem lies. Work is work and life is life, but work should not be life. Making time to travel is important in keeping a balance between work and play. Can you believe that a quarter of people say they haven’t taken a family vacation, if they’ve taken one at all? There are lots of reasons why people don’t travel—in fact, many people don’t even like to travel—but there is still an incredible need to take time away from the workplace.

Studies have shown that there are very positive effects when people take the time to vacation (this includes those who take long-distance trips and those who stick around their own backyards). Consider the following benefits of vacations:

  • Increased creativity
  • Increased productivity and efficiency on the job
  • Less likely to burn out on the job
  • Regular vacations keep stress levels lower and energy levels high
  • Improved mood
  • Better relationships with family and friends
  • Less stress overall

Despite the numerous studies that have shown why taking breaks from work is so important, more than half of all Americans do not use their vacation time. It’s been said that the United States is a no-vacation nation, and the stats don’t lie. What’s even more troubling is that, when people do travel or are forced to take paid days off, they are still likely to work. They take their laptops to the beach, their Blackberries to Walt Disney World and their work-heavy mindsets to places that should be far removed from our everyday comfort zones.

I can appreciate that there is an innate fear of taking advantage of vacation time, especially with a rocky economy hovering in the background. I had the same concerns:

  • Who will respond to my emails, phone calls, etc?
  • My work will pile up and then I’ll fall behind.
  • I am the only person who knows how to do my job.
  • Will my boss decide that I’m not necessary?

You earned your vacation, so use it, and use it well. Work ahead if possible, and then make a commitment to truly leave the work behind. Unplug. Breathe. Enjoy. Relax.

Your body and your family will thank you for it.

8 Responses to “Why Vacations are Important”

  1. Alouise

    The first couple years after High School I worked full-time without taking a vacation. Sure I got regular days off, but I never went on a holiday somewhere. I was always so worried about rent and money issues that I didn’t think a vacation was even possible. Finally I realized it was, I took a road trip to Seattle and it changed my perspective on work. Now everyone should take a holiday at least once a year, more if it’s possible.

    • JoAnna

      I think a lot of people think that, for one reason or another, they just *can’t* take a vacation, but once they embrace the annual vacation time, it’s hard to go back to a life without it.

    • JoAnna

      I think people work incredibly hard with very little reward. Taking advantage of vacation time is the least they can do!

  2. Simon Lee

    It seems like you have a hardworking boss 🙂 As you said, i use to travel at least once a year to get myself relax, working life is really stressful that we need something to balance it out:)


    • JoAnna

      Work-life balance is key! My boss totally stressed herself out, and, in the end, it didn’t get her very far!

  3. Mack Reynolds

    Right on! Seriously. I’ve just been given a position with my new company, and three months from now I’m going to vacation like it’s my job hahaha! I say this because I’ve interned here for three months already, so it’ll be a well needed vacation for sure. Loved this post. We must break frequently.

    • JoAnna

      Congrats on your new job … and enjoy your vacation time!


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