We’re all terrible at taking vacations.
A recent Glassdoor report found that, on average, Americans don’t use half of their vacation time or paid time off.
And once we’re actually on vacation, we have trouble kicking back and relaxing.
According to the same Glassdoor report, 66% of Americans say that they work during their vacations — that’s compared to 61% five years ago.
Harris Poll conducted the survey on behalf of the job site, interviewing 2,224 adults in the US. Only 771 — about one third — of those participants took vacation or paid time off in the past 12 months.
We all really need to get it together and start vacationing the right way. Taking a break from work can be great for productivity. On the flip side, working without any time off is a great way to burn yourself out.
Here are some signs that you seriously need a vacation:
'It's an old joke with a lot of truth to it,' says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of 'The Humour Advantage.' 'Any signs of chronic stress that might be signalling impending burnout are obvious red flags: irritability with colleagues, finding it difficult to concentrate on routine tasks, chronic tension headaches, back strain, stomach issues, or more serious health concerns.'
Whether you're having trouble falling asleep or waking up a 3:00 every morning, sleep issues can be a symptom of overwork and stress, or it can be a signal that you're too focused on your work at the expense of everything else, he explains.
If you find yourself having missed too many family dinners, school concerts, or family outings, it could be a clue that you need to reconnect with your family during some much needed vacation time, says Kerr.
'Whether it's errors on financial reports or customer transactions, if you find you're making more mistakes than usual, it could be a sign you need to reboot your mental hardware,' Kerr says.
If you're not as excited to get into work on a Monday morning as you once were, or you dread a work activity that you once enjoyed, you probably need a break. 'If you feel your work spirit flagging, and can't remember what it is that made you love your job, then it might be time to get away,' he adds.
Things that you could easily shrug off in the past or manage effectively now seem like insurmountable obstacles, Kerr explains. 'A lack of healthy perspective on issues can definitely be a sign you need to recalibrate your mental settings.'
If your entire identity is wrapped into your work -- so much so that you've forgotten who the real you is -- then it's time for a vacation, he says.
'Reaching for a glass of wine as soon as you're in the door from work, overeating, or forgoing your normal exercise routine, can all be signs you need to shake things up with a vacation,' Kerr says.
'Rather than going for a run or participating in fun activities in your off hours, all you can manage to do is drag yourself to your couch when you get home because your energy level is so depleted that you're not getting the health and wellness benefits from your off time the way you should be,' he says.
'When you find yourself daydreaming at work more and more about winning the lottery or dream vacations rather than focusing on your goals or demonstrating concern for your company's goals and well-being, it's time to book a trip,' Kerr says.
Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.
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