Stop Being a Martyr and Take a Vacation

vacationSeeing summer wind down is depressing -- not least because I didn't really go anywhere all summer.

Unless you count back and forth to the community pool for my daughter's swim lessons.

But like millions of Americans, it's all my fault.

A new survey from travel company Expedia estimates 34 percent of employed U.S. Americans don't use up all their vacation days.


No wonder we're stressed.

The survey estimates the average employed American earns 13 vacation days per year (an odd number, but I'm wondering if they count personal days?), but by year's end, we have at least 3 left.

I'm willing to bet you're doing what we do in our household -- save them up in case our child gets sick, her school has a surprise snow day, or some other catastrophe happens. 

It sounds smart, but we all know what happens. Things turn out fine, and you realize around December 1 you have a bunch of banked days to use.

And you can't. Because everyone else has done the same thing -- and they're higher on the totem pole than you, and they're taking off the days before and after Christmas and entire chunks of time.

So you end up either taking a few days off here and there, but not consecutively -- which isn't very relaxing.

Or you plain old lose out as the year passes.

Which, it turns out, really is bad for your health. According to the Framingham Heart Study, women who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than those who took at least two vacations a year.

An Air New Zealand study found that after a vacation, workers got an extra hour of quality sleep and their reaction times were 30 to 40 percent faster.

So stop being a martyr. You need a vacation. Take one.


Image via Andrew®/Flickr

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