When you do not feel like you can take another day, or even another hour, of being caged in the office. The allure of a vacation helps you get through the drudgery of each day. At least, it does for us!
Dreams of relaxing on the beach, mojito in hand. Releasing stress by hiking mountains, emerging above the tree line, and being rewarded with spectacular views. Escaping to a secluded cabin to recharge, away from the everyday chaos. No matter the location of your dream vacation, it is true to say everyone looks forward to a break.
Yet, for some reason, when it comes to actually taking vacation, we do not always do it right. We might fantasize of days away from the office, but many times we may not feel like we have the freedom to take off those days. Even when we do, we are often stressed about what is happening at work or the number of unread emails that await when we return. Is that really the way we want to spend our much-needed time off? Heck no!
There is an old saying, “Do as the Europeans do.” Okay, okay, we know that’s not the real saying, but it should be. At least when it comes to vacationing. Because in many places in Europe, they do it right!
Why is the European time off model so awesome?
First of all, unlike the United States, much of Europe is mandated by federal law to offer paid time off. This means that companies are required to offer their employees a minimum number of vacation days, and in most cases, that minimum requirement surpasses companies in the U.S. by a long shot.
The article Ten Basic Differences Between the USA and Europe states, “Most Europeans have a minimum of 4 weeks’ vacation, and most of them actually use their vacation time without being looked down on employers, because there are laws that guarantee vacation time.” It goes on to explain that many people in Europe take their days off all at one time, whereas Americans split their time off into smaller increments.
Another article titled, The Real Reason the French Work Less Than Americans Do, also discusses the disparity between paid leave in Europe and the United States. The article states, “U.S. workers – who receive about 15 days off per year – also get less vacation time than their European counterparts, who get about 30, according to a survey from Expedia. What’s more, while American employees take about 73% of their allotted vacation time, German and French workers take nearly all of the vacation time they’re allowed.” According to this article, not only do Europeans receive about twice as much time off, but they also typically use all of that vacation time, while Americans do not.
Why is this a problem?
Studies have indicated that vacations benefit the mind, body, and spirit. Taking time off to relax and escape from everyday stress is good for your health and crucial for your well-being. It reduces stress, reduces the risk of heart disease, improves sleeping habits, and even allows us to be more productive when we do return to work. Those who do not take their vacations are really hurting themselves. Not only physically and mentally, but also when it comes to work productivity.
There is a solution. When it comes to taking time off, we need to shift our mindset and become more like Europe.
Let’s be honest. It is not like we do not want to use our vacation time. In fact, we live for those days! So why is it that a large percentage of Americans do not take time off for vacations (especially extended vacations), even when they have access to it? There are a number of reasons. Some people hoard those hours for “future use,” waiting for the “right” time to use it. For some, the feelings of negativity they feel from managers or coworkers can discourage taking time off, even when it is needed. For others, work projects seem to take precedence over their own wants and needs.
While these are all valid reasons for delaying vacation, avoiding taking time off that will allow you to relax and de-stress is not a healthy option. Shifting your mindset will allow you to make the necessary changes to benefit your life and increase your happiness.
Your life is happening now, and there is no better time than this very moment to relieve stress and hit your favorite vacation spot. Do not waste your time hoarding vacation days, waiting for the perceived “right” time to relax. Take a leaf out of Europe’s book and adjust your attitude.
Who knows, if all of us were to change our attitudes and start using our vacations the way they are supposed to be used, perhaps we can start a wave of cultural change across the nation. Everyone deserves time off to escape work and return to the experiences that make life worth living.
You have the vacation days, the data backs up the benefits of taking time off, and there are extended vacation models already in place across the world that we can follow. What are you waiting for?
If your dream vacation includes a gorgeous beach, emerald waters, and stunning sunsets, look no further. We challenge you to book a beach vacation with Ocean Reef Resorts. An extended beach vacation – not just a few days. It should not be a short trip. Take the length of time you need to enjoy yourself, your family, your friends, and an environment of no stress! Our reservation specialists will help you make it so worth it, you will never want to leave.