Considering forgoing your vacation this year?
If so, you’re not alone. More than half of U.S. employees — 54% of Americans — don’t take the average of 10 vacation days they’re allotted each year.
In 2017, American workers left a full 705 million unused vacation days on the table. One reason for this phenomenon is rooted in Americans’ general mentality surrounding vacation: Most employees don’t believe vacation time is an earned benefit, but is instead a “bonus.”
Meanwhile, some countries like Kuwait mandate vacation of up to 30 days a year for their workers. The UK requires 28; most Western Europeans get 25; Australia and New Zealand workers receive 20. And that time off doesn’t include about 10-13 public holidays every year.
America’s Anti-Vacation Culture
Americans frequently complain about being overworked — but they also love to brag about it. It’s almost cool to say, “I’m so busy, I’m skipping my vacation this year.” This type of rhetoric may even be a toxic part of your company’s culture.
But studies suggest this pattern is unhealthy. The gold standard in long-term health studies, the Framingham Heart Study, which has collected 70 years worth of data, tracked workers for 20 years, comparing those who took vacations with those who refused them.
Brigid Schulte, director of the Better Life Lab at the New America Foundation, found troubling results in the 1992 report produced by the group. Men who didn’t take vacations saw their heart attack risk increase 30%, and women experienced a whopping 50% more coronaries. The study was motivation for experts to begin pushing employers to mandate critical downtime by creating a vacation-planning culture.
A more recent study of the work habits of more than 600,000 people in the U.S., UK and Australia showed people working more than 55 hours a week boost their stroke likelihood by 33% and their heart attack risk by 13% compared to those working 35-40 hours.
Why Vacations Are Good for You
Vacationing is learned behavior, and just as you can learn to eat well and exercise regularly, you can learn to take your vacations.
Think of pushing yourself to take more vacations as having the same benefits as practicing optimal diet, fitness and sleep habits. Allowing yourself more vacation time is part of a holistic wellness plan; it makes it more likely you’ll have the mental capacity to practice good physical habits.
By prioritizing travel, you’re likely to experience less stress, let go of your work and personal “to do” lists for a moment and build a successful self-care routine. By taking even a weekend getaway occasionally, you’re less likely to become ill, depressed or burned out. You may find yourself more productive at work and happier at home because you’re mentally and physically rejuvenated.
Use Your Timeshare to Make Vacation Planning Easier
The good news is that today, “anti-vacation” attitudes are shifting as studies increasingly show a correlation between travel and happiness. More people are viewing vacations as a positive — and necessary — part of work-life balance.
Timeshares make it simpler for you to join the ranks of those who take regular vacations because each year, you have already prepaid for somewhere to stay. With a timeshare, you are making a yearly promise to go on a vacation. All you have to decide is when and where.
Here are five ways to make your timeshare vacation the center of your downtime and give yourself the push you need to ensure you’re taking regular vacations.
- Make taking vacation a top priority at the beginning of every year. Each January, use the blank slate of the new year to envision what you want to use your timeshare points to do. Create a vision or Pinterest board for your home and office that includes images of what you imagine — and add pictures of your favorite timeshare resorts for extra inspo.
- Optimize your planning process. Just as you can create fitness excellence, you can excel at planning timeshare vacations. Establish time to do it, and make it fun using your visualizations from step one. Conduct plenty of research on your vacation destination to build anticipation and get yourself excited for the upcoming adventure.
- Create a theme for your home resort trips. Make it a golf vacation, girls’ trip, romantic vacation, beach vacation, holiday vacation or a family vacation. Adhering to a theme allows you to add new flavor to a beloved vacation spot, differentiate each year, and create a lifetime of memories.
- Put your vacation request in early in the year. Once you decide on when and where you want to vacation, request that time off as soon as you have dates in mind. Your boss will appreciate it, too.
- Make timeshare vacations part of your personal and family value system. That’s right: If you want vacation time to be part of your lifestyle, you’ve got to make it a core value. Make “vacation time” a family imperative, and you’ll soon reap the benefits.
If you prioritize time away, you’ll make the most out of vacation ownership — and potentially find yourself in a healthier state of mind. Now, go forth and begin planning a vacation. You deserve it.