Not taking vacation? That’s Crazy!

This topic is top of mind for me because this time of year it’s always a grand idea to get the heck out of rainy, gloomy Seattle and head for a warm, sunny climate. I’m heading to Cabo San Lucas and cannot wait!

However, I know of many folks who just don’t use and enjoy their vacation time. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 36% of employees don’t plan to use their earned vacation time! With one-third of U.S. employees reporting to feel chronically overworked, I find it even more amazing. Career Builder also reported that 12% of workers feel guilty that they’re not at work when vacationing and 30% will contact work during time off.

What is that about?

Vacation has always been a big priority for me and my family. I simply don’t understand those who opt out of enjoying that time away.

Believe me, NO ONE at work is going to remember you didn’t take your vacation!

Perhaps you are going to lose your time because you didn’t take it, but last time I checked, companies don’t give out bonuses for that! Plus, I’m fairly certain that NO ONE on their death-bed said, “Gee, I wish I’d spent more time at work.”

Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe we should be productive, working inside or outside the home, and contributing to society. However, I’m also a big proponent of taking time off and re-charging the battery so you’re even more “on top of your game” upon returning from a great vacation/time away from work.

If you are one of those who need some convincing that taking time away from work is a good idea, keep reading. Here are my top six reasons:

  • Relaxation and Recreation – offers a break from our everyday routine. We can sleep in, take naps in the middle of the day and enjoy activities you just can’t do if you’re at work. Say the word differently: Re-creation – a renewing!
  • Stimulation – we can see new sights, meet new people and maybe even experience different cultures, all of which broadens our perspectives. You could also learn a new skill and enjoy different activities (a new language, skiing, backpacking, cooking, etc.). Another bonus – we improved our self-esteem when we accept and conquer challenges that don’t exist in our daily routines.
  • Esprit de Corps – shared good times and adventures offer the setting to form long-lasting bonds of love and friendship.
  • Self-discovery – having some time to just BE allows time and space for self-reflection, creativity and inner peace.
  • Gratitude – when we experience other environments, we begin to appreciate what we have. That sense of appreciation enables us to get more our of life and raises our awareness to the small miracles where we live and how we live.
  • Memories – while the vacation is over, we will always have the memories and enjoy reflecting on the great experiences. When I’ve asked my kids to think about their favorite times, it’s ALWAYS about the vacations we took together. That’s truly priceless!

I hope I’ve inspired you in some small way to think about where and when you can take a break from work. Life is short so don’t make it all about work. When you get away you’ll come back even stronger and more productive!

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner at PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @MDuesterhoft.