Relationships Suffer When You Don't Use Your Vacation Days, New Study Says, So Go Take Time Off Now

Everyone loves a good vacation. Everyone loves a good vacation with their loved ones even more. But according to a new study conducted by GfK Public Affairs, people aren’t using enough of their vacation time. Furthermore, personal relationships suffer when you don't use your vacation days — not to mention you'll lose those days. It's summertime, so why not use some of those saved up paid time off and hit the road with your SO? Your relationship will be much better for it.

In a study released by Project: Time Off titled “The World Martyr’s Affair: How America’s Lost Week Quietly Threatens Our Relationships,” a survey of 1,214 adults living in the U.S. found that more than 80 percent of people who failed to use their time off believe that they lost out on quality time with their significant other, their children, and themselves. While many believe that their relationships suffered, four out of ten people still never take the time off.

I totally get it. Yeah, work is important. After all, you need some kind of income to live a comfortable life, and pretty much all of those surveyed—a good 96 percent of them—said that their families understood that work can sometimes get in the way of family time. At the same time, however, one in three couples argue that their work-life balance is so out of whack that they don’t spend enough quality time with each other. The study further found that in 36 percent of those cases, the argument became a longstanding issue between couples, which ended up lasting over a day.

“There is an obvious disconnect with what people say they want from life and what they actually do,” Dr. Lotte Bailyn, a published family and couples expert and Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science, said. “You see a conflicting identity. You’re supposed to be the good family person, but also this ideal worker.”

Sadly, the average person misses more than three events a year, and the number one missed event is some kind of child’s activity. Others miss out on vacations, visiting family members, and 10 percent even miss out on attending funerals. To make matters worse, 43 percent of those surveyed said they dedicated less than 20 hours a week to quality family time, and only 19 percent said they spent more than 40-plus hours a week with their families.

“Our relationships shouldn’t be casualties of our work martyr complex. This report should serve as a warning that our loved ones deserve our time,” Katie Denis, author of the report and senior director of Project: Time Off said. “The solution is straightforward; it's using the time off we already earn to prioritize our relationships and reclaim America's Lost Week."

People should really use up those vacation days, because almost half of the people surveyed said they bring work stress home. But for the 54 percent of people who do set aside time to take those paid days off, they were found to be much happier overall.

Aside from strengthening relationships with your loved ones, here are seven other reasons why it’s beneficial for you to take a break and just take a damn vacation already!

1. Take A Vacation Or Die. Really.

I know it sounds a bit extreme, but for real. A 2000 study, reported in the New York Times, examined 12,000 men over nine years and found that those who didn’t take annual vacations were 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack. They even had a 21 percent higher risk of death from all causes.

2. It’s Good For Your Sex Life.

Who doesn't want good things for their sex life? The 2014 Expedia Pleasure Index survey of 2000 Americans found that one in two people were more likely to get it on with their partners while on vacation than at home. About 93 percent said they were at least “somewhat likely” to be intimate while out on the road, and 77 percent believe that their vacations were important for their relationship overall.

3. Vacations Will Make You More Productive At Work

If you’re just one of those people who can’t turn the work-switch off in your brain, here’s one good reason why taking a vacation will help you at your job. A 2013 study reported in the New York Times found that people were much more productive after taking a much needed break due to the fact they had work to make up.

4. You’ll Also Be A Much Better Employee

Speaking of being more productive at work, a 2006 internal study done by Ernst & Young found that those who took vacation time had much higher performance reviews. For each additional 10 hours of vacation that an employee took, their performance review from their supervisor was found to be eight percent higher the following year. So, which sounds more appealing? Spending 10 hours relaxing at the beach or 10 hours slaving away in front of a computer screen? Decisions, decisions…

5. Vacations Increase Your Brain Power

In 2014, Gregory Hickok, a professor of Cognitive Sciences from the University of California Irvine found that we need vacations because our brains need to recharge.

As Hickok told the Chicago Tribune, “If we had a huge amount of brain power in reserve, we might not need vacations. We could just tap those beach-lolling brain cells. But we don’t. Time off tunes up a well-functioning brain.”

6. Vacation Time Will Also Improve Your Overall Mental Health

Let’s face it, no matter how much we love our jobs, they can be a total pain in the ass. Sometimes, you just need to get away before you completely drive yourself crazy. A 2011 study done by U.S. News and World Report found that one of the main benefits to taking vacation time off is the improvement to your mental health. According to health care professionals, people need time off to heal our bodies, as well as our minds, and we can’t do that when we’re constantly under pressure.

7. You’ll Be Much Happier If You Do

A 2014 study conducted at Uppsala University in Sweden found that when people take relaxing vacations, they return home much happier and much more relaxed. Obviously, right? Furthermore, if everyone from work goes on vacation at the same time, when they return a sort of “viral happiness pandemic” will hit the office. Studying people with anti-depressant prescriptions between 1993 and 2005, researchers found that the more people took vacations at the same time, the rate of anti-depressant prescriptions dropped.

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