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Thinking of not using up all your vacation time this year, just like 41 percent of American workers? Think again. You need that holiday, science says!

Statistics that suggest that nearly three quarters of American workers are stressed may not surprise you one little bit, but did you also know that — though 97 percent of them acknowledge that taking time off work is important — 41 percent of workers actively plan not to use all their vacation days?

The reasons for which workers don't take the time off that they've earned are obvious. People don't want to disappoint their employers, they want to show dedication to their jobs, and they both believe that their employers will see them as replaceable if they do take their allotted time off, and that it's actually true that nobody else can do their job properly. 

Studies clearly show that your boss benefits when you take a vacation as well: workers who go on vacation are more motivated and more productive, as well as having a greater sense of loyalty towards their workplace. What's so important about taking vacations for you and your family, though?

Why should you, with summer approaching, think very seriously about going on vacation, and not just because its fun?

What The Daily Drag Really Does To You

You don't have to be in a high-stress job — in the legal or medical field, for instance — to suffer the effects of something probably best termed simply "the daily drag". Being underemployed, underpaid, or just in a very boring job that you really don't enjoy brings stress too, as do worries about performance, not being able to spend enough time with your family, and finances.

Chronic stress greatly impacts your motivation, productivity and happiness. It also, studies reveal, disrupts the quality of your sleep, the functioning of your digestive system, and your memory. Indeed, constantly living with low-level stress seriously threatens your immune system, making you more prone to infections. (Which means taking sick leave rather than holiday leave, of course!) Because stress also makes people grumpy and less sociable, relationships with friends, children and partners can suffer a great deal as well. 

Stress is, in other words, something we shouldn't accept as a normal part of modern life at all. Stress impacts each and every area of our lives negatively. 

Though research shows that engaging in leisure activities such as golf does indeed alleviate stress, those hours and weekends off do not have the same power to refresh the mind as actually going on vacation does. Even during your weekends off, you're still stuck in the same rut, perhaps feeling pressure to take care of chores or just wasting your time away, thinking of all the things that worry you. That's where vacations come in. Vacations, science is very clear, aren't an unnecessary luxury. They can be life-changing. 

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