I just read a CNN article by A. Pawlowski called Why is America the 'No-vacation Nation'
? Basically, it reiterates something we already know: Americans do not take or have enough vacation time. It goes on to say that only 57% of Americans actually use all of their vacation time each year. If you compare that to countries such as France who on average use 89% of their vacation time, it’s no wonder why we Americans are so exhausted.
I have always thought that health insurance companies should provide a vacation benefit. Imagine the health benefits if each year we were each given a two-week all expense paid vacation. I like to think that our mental health would improve dramatically especially in areas related to stress management and depression. I also think that the costs associated with this type of benefit would pay for itself as people would require less medical treatment for stress related health problems. A girl can dream right?
Workers on average are taking less and less vacation time for several reasons: First, fear of being laid off. Jobs are scarce and if you are lucky enough to have one, chances are you are working more hours and not complaining to your boss. Secondly, even if you do get away, according to the article most of us don’t unplug our connections to work. So smartphones and laptops are kept on and although you might be lying on a beautiful beach somewhere, you’re still working. Finally, who can afford to go on away? Aren’t we the country that coined the term “staycation?”
If your boss doesn’t make your vacation time a priority then you should. The mental health benefits of taking time out for you are immeasurable. Remember that you will come back refreshed and ready to focus on work and life responsibilities. If you happen to be reading this and you are a boss, go talk to your workers about the last time they took vacation time and help them schedule some.
- Julie Cohen