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Americans have had an interesting relationship with work and vacation. More “Americans work over 60 hours per week” than anywhere else in the world. This obsession with work has had a number of detrimental effects, including actually costing the U.S. economy millions of dollars in potential tourism money.

The Effects of Overworking

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A 2016 study has shown that over half of American workers are not using their vacation time. Some workers feel like nobody can cover for them while they’re gone. Others say that they don’t want to return to a lot of extra work. Many workers have the feeling that while their company legally can’t punish them for taking vacation, they still feel like they will be penalized in some way. Retail jobs in particular are known for forcing employees to come in to work on short notice.

One study showed that every 10 hours of vacation time used resulted in an 8 percent hike in work performance. Workers who are required to take time off are more productive than those who don’t. Many Americans report feeling like they will be looked down upon by management for taking vacation time. What is interesting is that people who don’t use their vacation time are 10% less likely to get a promotion.

The Effects of Vacation on Health

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That might be because taking a vacation has a lot of benefits that can actually help your long term work performance. One study showed that men who take frequent vacations each year are over 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack. Another study showed that women who rarely take vacations are 7 times more likely to have a heart attack. People who vacation less are more likely to have depression.

Psychological Benefits

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Americans are feeling a lot of stress. Millions of people have taken on new jobs and are much more uncertain about their professional future than in decades past. Many Americans feel the need to work longer and harder to make sure they don’t lose their jobs.

Vacation relieves stress, which is more important than people think. Chronic stress makes it more likely that your body will be able to resist infections and operate normally. You are more likely to get sick and are more prone to having accidents. Your sleep patterns will go awry, you will develop digestion problems and you may become depressed.

Physical Benefits

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Vacations have been shown to be a great way to get exercise. If you take your family to Disney World or if you buy a Japan tour package, you are going to be doing a lot of walking. While many people eat unhealthy food on vacations, this is often offset by the incredible increase in physical activity. Hotels have pools and gyms to use and many people like to take part in sports or outdoor activities. Taking a trip to a hiking trail will obviously be extremely beneficial. Many people use their vacation time to play golf, which involves a lot of beneficial low-impact exercise.

A Change in Perspective

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After months or even years of work, you can often fall into a rut. When you do the same things and interact with the same people, some workers find that they lose sight of what the true goal of their work and their life is. When you take a trip to somewhere different, you are seeing new things and meeting new people. Traveling is a great way to broaden your horizons and learn new ways to do things. Observing how others approach their work and life is a great tool for you to use in your own life. Vacation time usually leads to a worker returning with fresh ideas and a new take on the things they have been doing. By growing as a person, your job performance grows as well. So pack your bags with some leisure and exercise wear and start exploring the world while exploring the benefits of travel.

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