All Work and No Play Doesn’t Pay

By Gerald Daniels

We’ve been talking about it, we’ve been planning it, we’ve been saving all year — Disney World here we come. I’ll have to admit Disney World was not my first choice for some rest and relaxation, but then again if it was left up to me I would work right through another year without ever missing a beat. Does a life of toil really require or entitle us to the much anticipated vacations that many a hard working American is looking forward to? The answer is a resounding yes. The majority of American companies offer a paid vacation plan to their employees as part of their benefits package. The key word is benefits. Studies have shown that vacations are beneficial both to the employee and the employer in more ways than one.

It appears that one of the greatest benefits of a vacation is that it is good for your overall health. A leading New York University found that men who take annual vacations reduced their risk of death by twenty percent. Men who didn’t take any vacation in five years had the highest death rate and incidence of heart disease than any other men surveyed. The Wisconsin Journal of Medicine found that women who take vacations are less likely to become depressed, tense, or tired. On the other hand women who rarely take vacations were likelier to have stress at home and sleep less.

Another benefit of taking some designated time off from work is that it can be inspiring. Everyone from assembly line workers to astronauts needs inspiration from time to time. Researchers have found that the day in day out schedule is what has to be changed. Doing the same thing over and over, seeing the same people, and the same scenery is not only monotonous it dulls our creative senses. Inspiration on the other hand causes our brains to think outside the daily schedules that rule our lives. Everyone knows that taking a vacation is supposed to be a time to relax and “get away.” But did you know your vacation can be inspiring as well? Most of us will never go to an exotic island, visit a foreign country, or go on a luxury cruise. As nice as those locations may sound; the same effect can be achieved by canoeing down a scenic river, family camping at a state park, or by visiting an interesting museum. The old adage “inspiration is where you find it” was never more true than when applied to the area of rest and relaxation.

When it comes to on the job productivity nothing spells incentive like an employee’s upcoming vacation. Workers will eliminate distractions, work more efficiently, and stay on a tighter schedule knowing as their day grows closer they won’t want anything to hinder their departure. Summer is just around the corner, and if there is no vacation plan in place, chances are your days off will turn into an extended weekend working at home. A real vacation is what you make of it, no matter where you go, or what you choose to do.  Reconnecting with your spouse, the kids, and yourself, by enjoying some time together is a great way to revitalize our most valued relationships.

The economy has forced all of us to readjust some of our financial plans, and to eliminate frivolous items from the budget. Hopefully, the vacation you earned this year will not be an excluded item. A healthier lifestyle, new found inspiration, increased work productivity, and reconnecting with those we love are four positive reasons to not miss this year’s vacation. One other thing we don’t want to overlook — time away from work can also be laugh out loud fun.

P.S. I hope there are no long lines!

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