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KANE Company News

The Importance of Vacations

Ed Shoemaker | August 28, 2013

The Importance of Vacations

Some recent discussions about company vacation policy prompted this question from an associate:  "How will this impact people who don't take their vacation or hold it over to the next year?"

Huh?  Don't take vacation?   This suggests a different problem altogether and my advice to address this problem is simple: Use all of your vacation each year.  You owe it to yourself, to the people who care about you, and also to the company that employs you.   The importance of vacations cannot be overestimated.

Like many professions, logistics can be a high-stress job….meeting project timelines, hitting shipping deadlines, dealing with up and down volume fluctuations.   You need time to re-charge the battery.  When you don't, bad things happen.  Here are a few statistics on the importance of vacations:

1. Women are 2 to 8 times more likely to suffer from depression and have a 50% higher chance of developing heart disease if they do not take their vacation time. (source: Marketplace)

2. Men's' risk of death from a heart attack increases by a third if they don't take allotted vacation. (source: Business Week)

3. Men at high risk for coronary heart disease who fail to take annual vacation have a 21% higher risk of death from all causes and are 32% more likely to die of heart disease. (source: New York Times) 

And if that isn't enough, here are five more reasons to use your vacation each year.   Yes, all of it. (source: Huffington Post)

1. Vacations make you smarter.  They give you a chance to experience new things or at least to step back and look at things differently.

2. Vacations improve sleep quality.  Your body gets in a routine.  Breaking the routine is healthy…not setting an alarm allows your body to get the amount of sleep it needs.

3. Reduce your risk of heart attack.  Heart attacks are linked to overwork and stress.  Do an internet search on the subject and you will find many articles.

4. Stress can make you fat.  Working long hours…not eating right…avoiding exercise because you are "too tired" after a long day of work…these all lead to a slower metabolism, which will lead to weight gain.

5. It can improve your mental health.  Give your brain a rest, it needs it.  You can switch off during vacation.  Also, just having a vacation scheduled in the future gives you something to look forward to and relieves current stress.

Regardless of your company's vacation policy, do yourself a favor and take time to "sharpen the saw," which is Stephen Covey's Habit #7.  If you haven't read it, I suggest Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. 

As for me, no worries.  Between an annual golf trip with friends, family vacation, and a few select days here and there, I will be taking my vacation.