The Psychological Benefit of a Vacation Why Most Americans are Unable to Relax While on Vacation

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How many of us have abandoned our childhood dreams not for lack of trying, but due to lack of finances. Being an astronaut would be great, but the schooling and competition may make a secure desk job a better career choice. The American work week typically consists of a 40 hour work week, but studies show that many of today’s working Americans are clocking even more time in every week, pushing the new work week to excesses of 50 hours, 60 hours, and perhaps even more. Studies have demonstrated the negative impact of overworking, given the increased stress levels, higher likelihood for developing depression, and statistical increases for trouble at home.

The American Work Year

While many are quick to remark on the “laziness” of Americans, it is important to consider the impact of a high-stress environment on individual productivity and motivation. For example, one out of every four working Americans receive no paid time off according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research; by comparison, workers in France are given 31 days of paid time off, Japanese workers receive 10, Italian workers receive as many as 31 days, and Canadian workers receive 19 days of paid time off per year. Even those workers that have paid time off may not take it, according to the employment site Glassdoor, as many as three out of every four Americans with paid time off did not use all of their vacation in 2013!

Why Americans are Miserable

Technology may be to blame in part why so many Americans are miserable and feel chained to their job. Even while they are on vacation, around 1 out of every 10 travelers state that they are unable to relax due to the constant email and voicemail messages they receive from work, family, or friends. Over half of surveyed participants admitted to working while they were supposed to be on vacation and around a quarter of respondents stated that a colleague or boss got in touch with them about work at some point while they were on vacation. It seem that for the average American family fun typically has to take the back seat when it comes to the call of work.

The Benefit of Vacationing

A vacation for family fun does wonders according to psychologists. The release of endorphins such as dopamine occurs when one is near loved ones; work can put a stop to this natural chemical process. Only 37% of vacation-going families stated that the vacation made them happy, again this is likely due to the pervasive nature of technology — thus families should be keen to keep their phones off in order to maximize the potential for family fun. A vacation can be anything as extensive as renting a luxury condo on a beach or a simple camping trip to a state park. Maybe an outdoor adventure park complete with ropes courses, tree houses, zip lines, rock climbing, laser rooms, and other features would be more suitable for some quality family fun. Amusement parks and Zoos make for popular attractions throughout the heart of America. No matter what you do, take time to put your family first — a vacation can do wonders for someone, trust me!

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June 2024