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Not planning to take vacation this year? You could actually be doing more harm than good to both yourself, and your career.

There are a number of reasons why people don’t take vacation. Fear of missing out on promotions, falling behind at work, or simply saving up vacation days for another time are all common reasons. Not to mention the fact that vacations can get expensive, depending on what you want to do and where you want to go.

While these are all valid excuses, they aren’t reason enough to avoid using your vacation days. Taking time off is good for your mental and physical health. It can even make you a better employee and help your career. Here are a few reasons why it’s so important to take a vacation.

Getting relaxed, recharged, and refreshed

Let’s start in the most obvious place: vacations help you recharge. You need time to refresh, and one of the best ways to remain productive is by taking time off.

Vacations are also extremely important because they help you learn how to relax. If you lack this skill, it may be very hard to handle stress down the road. By taking time off, you train yourself to destress.

Additionally, if you push yourself beyond exhaustion, you may start to become distant and less caring – emotions you should avoid bringing into work. Disconnecting fully from work (no emails on the beach, please) gives you a chance to unwind, relax, and recharge.

Show your value to coworkers

We all know that person that thinks that no one else can do what they do at the office. That person is usually the last person to take vacation. Well, we say “Prove it!” Take a vacation and let others carry your workload. How else will your coworkers ever realise how valuable your contribution is?

Stop feeling bad about leaving the office for too long because you think your team might be lost or overwhelmed. Instead this is an opportunity to train coworkers to cover your absence and allow them to appreciate all the work you actually do.

Help you get that promotion

No one performs their best when exhausted. Skipping vacation to climb the corporate ladder faster is beyond ineffective. In fact, studies have found that working long hours without break doesn’t get you ahead at all. This behaviour actually has the potential to stall your career.

Project: Time Off study has found that employees who take a vacation are more likely to get promoted and get a raise. Maybe it’s that workers who feel less guilt about taking vacation are less stressed when they are away. Likely, the same confidence that allows workers to feel justified in taking a break, also helps them succeed in the workplace.

Either way, constant worry about taking vacation can only negatively affect your career

Helps your health

Not taking vacation to recuperate creates the risk of burnout, lower job performance, sleep deprivation, sickness, and even depression. Stress is linked to headaches, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infections. Wanting to avoid all of these is argument enough to take vacation.

A study published in 2001 by Psychology & Health found that among blue-collar workers at an industrial plant in Israel, levels of absenteeism in workers fell for four weeks following a vacation. Stay healthy and take breaks when you know you need them.

Not taking vacation could cost you in the long run

Some companies have a “use it or lose it” policy when it comes to vacation. This means that any vacation you don’t take this year cannot be carried over to the next year. So not only are you missing out on the relaxation time, but you are missing out on being paid to not work!

You need to remember that if your vacation is a paid benefit, it adds to the overall value of your salary. If you aren’t taking those days, you are missing out on paid employee benefits your company gives you to stay healthy.

Stimulate innovation

When your brain can think clearly, productivity and creativity increase. Refresh your perspective while relieving your brain of stress. Often the simplest (and most obvious) solutions to complex problems are found when we relax.

Taking time away from work can help get the creative juices flowing. Bill Gates is famous for his ‘think’ weeks. Kevin Systrom came up with the idea for Instagram while on vacation in Mexico. Drew Houston thought of the idea for Dropbox while travelling. Take that holiday; you could come up with your next big idea!

A short vacation can be just as good as a long one

Longer vacations aren’t necessarily better than shorter ones. The ideal vacation to boost your well-being is one that allows you to recharge. Even a few moments of deep breathing with your eyes closed can reduce blood pressure. As long as you are taking a break from your regular routine, maybe engaging in activities you haven’t done before, then even a staycation will do the job.

Make sure you don’t spend vacation time running errands; it may be a break from work, but it isn’t a break from stress. Take time to smell the roses.

Has your job search been on vacation?

Sometimes, the best time to apply for a new job is after you return from vacation. But even if you’re perfectly content with your current job, it’s always a good idea to keep an ear open to new opportunities. Keep your job search going strong all year long and contact a recruiter at Energy Resourcing today.

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