As a nation, we could do a better job at taking time off.
About half of full-time workers recently surveyed by the U.S. Travel Association didn’t take all the paid vacation days they earned last year.
More than 700 million vacation days went unused, and we forfeited about 200 million of those days — when vacation benefits didn’t roll over. On average, American workers took almost six fewer vacation days than we earned.
If you’re among this group, you could be missing out on some of the benefits of leisure time.
It may seem obvious that vacation makes us feel good, but its health benefits are, in fact, measurable. For instance, one study finds engaging in more frequent enjoyable leisure activities, including vacation, is linked to improvements in mood, sleep and blood pressure, and it can help buffer “the negative psychological impact of stress.”
There’s also research to suggest regular vacationers may get a longevity boost. One line of evidence comes from a study of men who were at high risk of heart disease. Men who regularly took an annual vacation had a reduced risk of death during the study period.