In the olden days, mankind had only one task to accomplish on this earth! SURVIVAL!
Their job was to get up, take a piss without getting eaten by something bigger than them, then go hunt something they could kill (without getting eaten by something bigger) and then go back home(cave), eat, procreate and sleep (again without getting eaten by something bigger).
In today’s world, people live to work. They get up and check their work email BEFORE they even take a piss, check their email while they piss, take breakfast while writing a response to the morning emails, then drive to work and check their emails on their phone, then go in the office and write more emails, and after a 12 hour working day of answering emails they go home and sleep (while occasionally waking up to check or respond to emails).
With this kind of lifestyle and the high levels of stress that comes along with it, NOT taking your vacation is fatal.
One study in 2012 (source) indicated that not taking your annual vacation increases your risk for coronary heart disease by 32% as opposed to those who actually take it. I am willing to bet that this percentage has only gone up in the last couple of years.
There are a few reasons why people tend to ignore taking their vacation:
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Sometimes people are very attached to their work
Not taking breaks from what you do for a living (whether you love it or not) can lead to an unhealthy obsession.
In case you didn’t know, having an unhealthy obsession means that your life revolves around one thing which in turn will hinder all other aspects of your life including but not limited to:
- Your lack of personal time – you live to work and nothing else. Your work becomes the end purpose in life.
- Your social time with your family and friends – making time for them becomes secondary and of a lesser value thus driving you away from them. When you will eventually want to spend time with them you will either be very old or very sick or they will be out of your life one way or the other.
- Your health – increased stress, bad habits and addictions such as smoking and an insane amount of caffeine, bad eating habits, bad quality of sleep and not enough recovery, and even obesity from uncontrolled eating.
Your obsession in combination with all of the above will eventually send you to a health professional (psychologist, nutritionist, cardiologist or endocrinologist) and at that point your lust for life will go down the drain along with your money, which you worked so hard for.
Some people worry that they might be replaced in their absence
As silly as that may sound, it still stands true. Insecurities suck and can be dangerous.
However, if you are really good at what you do, I do not think anyone would want to replace you so that might be an irrational fear possibly connected to the unhealthy obsession I was talking about earlier on.
Some (successful) people think they are invincible!
Because our life has become so easy and automated and because we have no large mammals coming after our head every day, the modern man has come to the (false) belief that he is invincible. So we try to justify our boldness with other acts of bravery, often overlooking their effects on our health and existence on this planet.
Some people refuse to take a vacation and hold this as a badge of honor. Last time I checked, a badge of honor is classified as a medal you receive after your services for the greater good of your country such as serving in a war and risking your life for your comrades.
Making more money for a company that would kick you out in a heartbeat given the change does not sound very honorable to me.
If you are not an employee and you are actually an entrepreneur (a.k.a the boss) the rules slightly differ. Let’s make one thing straight here: making your business work is of the essence. It is linked with your life. We get that.
However, I really do not think that ignoring your vacations and ultimately your own well-being will help your business at all. If your business is everything you have in the world and you don’t care if you die for it, then that is not a problem. Just keep skipping on those vacations and you’ll get your wish!
If on the other hand, your business is your passion but you are also planning to live long enough to enjoy the money you are making (or plan to make) from your business, you’d better think twice before you cancel those vacations again.
Bonus: Benefits of taking your vacation
Now let’s take a moment and see what happens to your body, mind and soul when you actually DO take your annual vacation.
- Stress levels go down. That means cortisol levels go down, hormones are regulated properly again, having you feel and looking better (and lowering your risk for heart disease).
- You take some time to appreciate other things around you that are not related to your work. Your kids, your partner or a hobby or skill you loved so much and used to do on a regular basis. Or perhaps spending some time with old friends or just enjoying yourself by going out and having fun!
- You learn to not obsess and you learn to let go. Not having full control over everything is really hard to do but when it happens, it is actually very good. After all, it is only temporary and you will be back in the saddle after your vacation is done!
- You will get to experience new things. This will have a great positive effect on your psychology, even if you think it is minor and unimportant. Don’t forget that ignoring a lot of minors things can lead to something major and usually deadly.
- You will save money from not having to visit health professionals. You can use all that hard earned cash to plan your next vacation or take it to the next level. And if after that you still have some money left, you can make a new investment or even give it to charity! That’s money well spent!
- You will be energized, refreshed and ready to go back in and kick it harder! Your motivation will be on the rise, your brain will respond better and your productivity will skyrocket!
Don’t live and regret!
Now if none of these convinced you, let me share one last thought with you. There was an article about the top 5 things that people regretted while on their deathbed. No2 on that list was, yes you guessed it: ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’ (link).
Living with regrets is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. You only have one shot at this life so make it count. If you haven’t taken your vacations this year, stop reading this article right now and book your next holiday destination!
And while you’re at it, make absolutely sure that you ENJOY it! Your life might just depend on it!
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did writing it. Putting together this article took a bit of time but it will only take you a second to click on Share buttons and show your support to this blog.
Also if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!
by Nick Sigma SHF
CWC, EH, E-YRT200