If you’re lucky enough to receive paid vacation days (one fourth of American workers receive none), use them — it’s good for you! More than half of Americans don’t take advantage of all their accumulated days, according to Project Time Off. But numerous studies have shown that you should; here are just a few of the reasons why.

Vacations improve your physical health.

Everyone knows that stress impacts us physically. Unwinding on a vacation can literally save your life. A 20-year study by the Framingham Heart Study found that even when other lifestyle factors were taken into account, men who didn’t take vacations were 30% more likely to have a heart attack. The news was even worse for women: working without vacations raised their percentage to 50%.

Mental health matters!

Overwork affects us mentally as well, damaging our well-being and our relationships with family and friends. Although financial security is important, repeatedly prioritizing work over vacations and special events breeds not only burnout, but resentment that can harm us and the people we love.

Vacations benefit your business, too.

Rested and refreshed employees contribute to a healthy work culture. Time away allows employees to return with fresh perspectives and new ideas. Planning and organizing time off also improves organization, and allows other workers to expand their skills and understanding. Teams work best when they collaborate and support one another—no employee should be “indispensable” to the point of not taking well-earned time off.

Planning promotes great vacations.

Love to travel? Schedule that time! Planners are more likely than non-planners to use most or all of their vacation time to travel. And having something on the calendar to look forward to makes time at work sweeter and more productive.

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