Why you should use your vacation time

As Americans we get very little vacation time. This 2007 chart from the World Tourism Organization showing nine countries indicates that on average, Americans are granted 16 fewer days (math: the numbers in the table add up to 265, divide by nine and you get 29.4, minus 13 equals 16.4) than the other countries listed.

Yet, many Americans don’t take what little time they have. Largely because of Vacation Guilt and fear that spending time away from the office will have serious career repercussions. But are those career repercussions worth more than your overall health and happiness?

A study published in 2000 in Psychosomatic Medicine, the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Psychosomatic Society, found that taking regular vacations is associated with a longer, healthier life. Vacations can be a break from stress, a time to relax and reconnect with loved ones.

With proper planning, even just a long weekend away from the office can do wonders and not just for those three or four days. In fact, a study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed  the largest boost in happiness is in planning the vacation. “The effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks,” this New York Times article states.

Eight weeks of happiness for planning a camping trip or a beach visit? Who could say no to that?

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