by Ada Slivinski
Summer is a time many of us associate with time off, but many Canadians are not taking full advantage of their vacation days. Canada is one of the most vacation-deprived nations according to a 2014 survey by TD bank, which found that only 43 per cent of Canadians report using up all the vacation days they are entitled to. This occurred even though 93 per cent of Canadians said they thought vacations were important to be “happy.”
Many of those who did not take vacation days said it was because they could not afford to but research shows that time away from work is not only important for your personal health and wellbeing but also has benefits for your employer. These benefits don’t change based on how long you’re away or how far you go. Vacations are not a frivolous luxury, they are important for self-care and productivity. Here’s why you should go ahead and book that getaway:
Better physical health
Getting away can help your physical health. For both men and women, studies show that taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will significantly lessen the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks. The opportunity to regroup and reset that a vacation provides can also help you ditch some negative habits. Vacations are one of the most successful times to implement lifestyle changes because old cues and rewards are no longer present. It is also easier to get more sleep, eat better and get more exercise when you’re not rushing around in your daily routine.
Improved mental health
One of the main benefits of vacation time is that it can improve your mental health. The reduced stress allows the body and mind to reboot and recoup in ways that they couldn’t if they were still under pressure. The human body is not designed to run at full-tilt around the clock. A period of rest brings you back up to optimal functioning. Family vacations also improve and strengthen family ties, which has a positive impact on mental health and your overall sense of wellbeing.
Employees who take vacations are more productive. Upon returning from vacation, workers are likely to put more emphasis on the work they have to make up and have a renewed energy to pour into their job. Being away from a regular work routine and in a different space gives you a fresh perspective that helps generate new ideas and come up with innovative solutions to problems.
Lowered risk of burnout
When employees work too hard for too long they are likely to reach a breaking point and leave altogether. This means employers end up paying to train someone else to replace them. The biggest price employers pay for burnout is the loss of talented people and there are tolls burnout takes even before the stress it reaches a breaking point. Employees approaching burnout are likely to start taking more sick days and report “feeling disconnected” at work. By encouraging their employees to take full advantage of their vacation time, employers can reap the benefits and the overall work environment will become more enjoyable for all.