Vacations good for employees’ mental health

Vacations are viewed by Canadians as medicine for the body, mind and soul.

A survey from finds that 78% are more focused at work after a vacation, and 93% feel relaxed and rejuvenated when they get home from a trip.

Taking a vacation is key to making people happy, with the survey finding that 80% of respondents associate vacationing with their overall happiness and half as many (42%) saying it impacts their happiness “a great deal” (a 10% increase from last year’s survey).

Dr. David Posen—stress specialist and author of Is Work Killing You?—isn’t surprised by the survey results and reaffirms the important health benefits of taking a vacation.

“We really feel the physical and mental benefits of even a brief getaway,” says Posen. “Vacations can lower blood pressure and ease stress and tension in the body. Vacations are a prescription for health, stress relief, more energy, improved productivity and overall happiness.”

But despite the benefits of taking time off work, the survey found that vacation deprivation—defined as not having enough vacation time or not using some or all of one’s vacation allotment—is creeping upward this year. On average, Canadians say they’ll take 15 vacation days this year, down from 17 days last year.

Furthermore, 18% say they won’t take all the vacation days they are entitled to in 2014, and 13% say they’ll take less time off this year than last (up from 9% in 2013). The majority (59%) of those feeling vacation-deprived say it’s because they don’t get enough vacation time. In fact, Canadians say they need, on average, an additional eight days to be satisfied with their yearly vacation allotment (for a total average annual allotment of 24 days).

Work demands often play a role for not using all of one’s vacation time—37% say they have cancelled or postponed vacation plans because of work.

Further, when we do get away, we’re having an increasingly hard time disconnecting from the office. Thirty-eight percent say they regularly or constantly check work email and/or voice mail while on vacation—up from 27% last year.

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