Saturday, March 15, 2008

Take a Vacation

I am sure you have all heard at least one reason why you need to take vacation. Some reasons include spending quality time with your family, taking a break from work, or to simply regrouping so you can go back to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. So why do so many Americans’ vacation days go unused and how much is this trend costing you?

In 2007 alone, Americans failed to take an estimated 438 million vacation days. The projected cost of these unused days is roughly $60 billion, based on average hourly wages. What you may not realize is that by leaving unused vacation days on the table, you could end up paying later.

Let’s look at a variety of situations that might take place as a result of unused vacation days, and what the annual cost associated with those things are.

Work stress: In dealing with stress you end up munching on unhealthy food to make you feel better. Result: Yearly visits to your cardiologist, costing you $624.

Lack of sleep: Lost downtime means lost sleep, which leads to weight gain. Result: Using a personal trainer twice a week, costing you $7,800

Depression: Women who take time off less than once every two years are more depressed than those who take time off twice or more per year. Result: Prozac, costing you $1,920.

Loss of energy: By not breaking out of the routine you are less productive. Result: A triple-shot grande latte every day, costing you $984.

Vitamin D deprivation: Exposure to artificial light rather than sunlight robs your body of vitamin D, which protects your bones and lowers your risk of cancer. Result: Daily supplements of vitamin d, costing you $24.

Total cost: $11,352. I bet you could take a pretty nice vacation for that chunk of change. Even if you do not realize these costs and have the money outright for a vacation, there are plenty of things you can do close to home that do not have to cost thousands of dollars.

If you are not using all of your vacation each year make a pact right now to begin doing so. You will be amazed at how different you feel when you return to the office feeling rested, energized, and full of new ideas.