Vacation Deprivation

Put down the BlackBerry and enjoy the palm trees and sunshine.

When was the last time you took a vacation? I don’t mean the last time you went away somewhere, or the last time that you didn’t go into the office. I mean the last time you left the office and disconnected from the office for more than 24 hours.

A friend recently sent me a link from WebMD: Help for the Vacation-Deprived, probably because I can’t remember the last “day off” that didn’t include my iPhone and a compulsive check of my email. But is the burnout and stress really worth it?

In the U.S., we get far fewer days off than most of our counterparts around the world. Our vacation days and holidays add up to an average of 25 days off per year (assuming 3 weeks’ vacation as an average; there is no federally mandated minimum). How do we stack up against the rest of the world? Germany gets a minimum of 34, while Japan enjoys 35. And who wouldn’t secretly covet a move to Finland for their minimum of 44 days off per year?

Even if you can’t get away, stay home and unplug. The simple act of allowing yourself some free time can improve your mood, health and general wellbeing. Which is why, as this pre-scheduled post goes live, I will be out of town for two days, taking a much-needed break from my routine and my laptop, hoping to return to the office with a notebook full of ideas and a brain free of clutter.

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