Americans work 100 more hours per year than the Japanese. We’re also the only country in the world that doesn’t require paid vacation leave. In his book, Work To Live: The Guide to Getting a Life, Joe Robinson says that most of us suffer from “vacation deficit disorder.”
Ever since the early 80s, a false sense of urgency has loomed over American workers — creating “a world with no boundaries,” he tells Psychology Today. Combine that with the fact that more of us are doing multiple jobs since the recession, and there’s a high burnout factor.
To medicate this, vacation is necessary. According to Robinson, it takes a full two weeks to recharge. But since that’s unrealistic for most U.S. workers, he recommends completely cutting yourself off from work for a few days. Without the mental break, it’s as if you never left the office. That means not dwelling over looming deadlines, or even relationships with colleagues, during your time at the beach.
“You have to unpack before you pack,” he says. “Put together an unpacking list of the stuff that has no business going with you.”