Do you feel like you can't take a vacation? Do you worry that if you have a day off, the office will fall apart? Or worse, do you think you'll look like you don't care enough about your job and will be judged by your boss? Because nobody knows that important client or project like you do.

In fact, you might even find that it's harder work to take a day off (let alone a week!) than it is to just keeping going in to work every single day of the year.

If you agree with any of the above, then you definitely need a day off.

A recent report by Oxford Economics claims that unused vacation days by Americans are at a 40 year high, with nearly a quarter of all paid vacation days not being used.

When I worked at a world-class advertising agency in New York City, an executive vice president called a meeting to tell the staff that she didn't want people taking vacation days. She went on to say that, "A week's holiday is not a right, it is something that has to be earned."

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She was proud of the fact that she worked every single day for six years straight, before she ever took a day off. It was the most demotivating speech any of us had ever heard. Every employee left the meeting feeling thoroughly deflated.

And though she was successful in her career, it's certainly not the healthiest way to work. Here are five simple reasons why you need to give yourself a break and go on a vacation, or at least take the day off:

1. Your stress will dramatically reduce.

When you're in the midst of all the stresses and pressures of work, it's hard to see things clearly or rationally. Taking a break for a day or more will help give you perspective on the role of your job within your life. Staying aware of this viewpoint on your work/life balance when you return to work helps you maintain composure, decreasing the effects of stress and likeliness of burnout.

2. Your concentration at work will improve.

Taking a vacation improves your effectiveness and concentration throughout the rest of the year. When you take time to unwind from your everyday stresses, you'll return to your job with more confidence and ready to face your work-related challenges with a clearer, cooler head.

3. You'll find an increase in your overall job satisfaction.

Knowing that your employer appreciates the importance of your personal time makes you feel valued. When Richard Branson announced unlimited vacation days for his staff, it served as an example that time away from the office can lead to better teamwork and boost employee morale.

Work becomes more of a collaborative effort when every employee is prepared take on the roles of those who are not in the office. This act of karma is balanced when those roles are reversed and it's another employee's turn to take some vacation time. When an employer instills a policy that makes the employees feel valued, that policy is honored instead of abused.

4. You're reminded that family time is important.

Dealing with your partner and/or children after a hard day's work can be exhausting. But when you take time away from the grind you're given back that important time to bond, relax and grow as a family. Just make sure you plan a vacation where it's easy for everyone to enjoy themselves!

5. Your health will improve.

Taking a vacation is good for your health. The New York Times recently reported that those who take less than one vacation every two years are more likely to suffer from depression and burnout. Moreover, those who fail to take annual vacations have a 21% higher risk of death and were 32% more likely to die of a heart attack.

Giving yourself some time away from your job means you're practicing self-care, leading you toward greater happiness, health and prosperity in the workplace and beyond.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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