4 Reasons You Need a Vacation

Vacations make us better people—and better employees. Here’s how to look at it.

from Reader's Digest | August 2011
4 Reasons You Need a Vacation© Brand X Pictures / Thinkstock

Are we so worried about keeping our jobs that we’re refusing to leave our desks? Are we so busy picking up the slack for our downsized coworkers that we don’t dare think about a trip to the beach/lake/Hogwarts School? Maybe so, but vacations make us better people—and better employees. Here’s how to look at it:

We’re slackers when it comes to time off.
Almost half of all American workers didn’t take all their vacation days last year. A full 89 percent of the French took their time off—and they get more than a month of it.

A more stressful workplace makes vacations more important than ever. “The research is clear that failing to take a vacation creates higher levels of stress and greater levels of disengagement at work,” Douglas J. Matthews, of Manpower/Right Management, tells forbes.com.

We’ve forgotten what a vacation feels like. That week off takes some getting used to. “Keep vacationing, and it will feel right,” says Psychology Today blogger (and psychologist) Ian Newby-Clark. Though it may be “excruciating” the first few days, he adds, you’ll stop checking e-mail and start feeling untethered soon enough. Forgoing a vacation doesn’t make you more important. “Take your vacation, and let them miss you,” advises vault.com’s Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio on forbes.com.

You’ll be a better problem solver. That’s what Jonah Lehrer explains on wired.com. One experiment—“Lessons from a Faraway Land: The Effect of Spatial Distance on Creative Cognition,” done at Indiana University—found that students tackled problems better after they were told the conflicts originated in Greece or California, instead of in Indiana. “Our surroundings constrain our creativity,” concludes Lehrer. “It’s not until we’re napping by the pool with a piña colada in hand—when work seems a million miles away—that we suddenly find the answer we’ve needed all along.”

  • Your Comments

    • http://www.lavahotsprings.org/activities-recreation.html Shanae Buckner

      Think of it as something essential to exercise. Too much work without rest would weaken the body and stress it out to the point where it won’t be able to function optimally. With a bit of R&R and a change in scenery, one can reboot the mind into a more ready and active state.

    • j—o—y

      Spending time away from a stressful place brighten up your mind and offers you a new insights and new things to discover..A happiness that could be find in a place you long to spend your time is a fulfillment and an  achievement of inner body and soul..

    • Amber

      I can give more reasons why I need a vacation. First off I am a single mother of a 4 year old and a 3yr year ald. My kids father is in prison for trying to kill me in the process my 3 month old, at the time was stabbed in the head while my ex was trying to cut my throat. My 16 month old was trying to pull his father off me and he had been tossed into our furnace and knocked out. I help everyone before I help my self even though it would require working more to help them out. I cover everyones shift at work if they are sick or have something to attend to. I do parts of my bosses job to help her out and dont get paid to do so. My 3 year old has alot of medical problems and I do my best to make him better. I have no family that is in our lives or friends. I can go on for days on reasons I need a vacation but in the end I cant even take a day off from work because I got bills to pay and I dont want to show my kids that its ok to be lazy and live off welfare.

    • http://www.facebook.com/moochen.yean Moo Chen Yean

       Taking time off is to give your mind & your body a chance to re-charge itself. We should incorporate that into our daily life, shorts ones and long ones.