“When all else fails, take a vacation.”

~ Betty Williams

Yes or no? Are you an enthusiastic vacationer or do you find it difficult to get away? These days it’s even more important to give mind and body a proper rest, but that doesn’t mean we’re doing it.

It’s hard for this self-employed person to understand how people actually leave paid vacation days unused. I know there are likely valid reasons for doing so, but the benefits of going far outweigh that urge to stay, and that’s what I’m looking at  today.

As I continue my exploration of REST and what it really means to take a break, I’m sharing stats around how we vacation, and three reasons (at least) to take your holidays seriously …backed by science. Watch the video below, or you can read the transcript that follows.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here, jumping right in with some interesting statistics around vacation habits that’ll hopefully get you thinking about how you can do yours better!

According to recent data, in 2021 nearly 60% of employees reported experiencing negative impacts of work-related stress. No surprise, given the challenges of the last two and half years (pandemic-related and otherwise).

Despite this increase in stress, however, we simply kept working. In fact, more than 30% of Canadian and 50% of American workers left paid vacation days on the table last year.

There are lots of reasons why it’s hard for people to take time off; staff shortages, a fear of not appearing committed to the job, too much to do and no time to do it, belief that you’re indispensable, fear that work will pile up too much and just cause more stress… (you get the idea)

In February Expedia released its annual Vacation Deprivation survey, and results showed, perhaps as expected, that 55% of Canadians are feeling vacation deprived and 71% are more burned out than ever.

Yes, the survey was back in February, but it’s very relevant right now as we navigate peak summer holiday time, because it seems we need to learn how to do our vacations better!

Why? Well here are a few more highlights from the survey worth noting:

43% of respondents admitted to including their cell phone number in their out-of-office reply just in case co-workers or clients need them while they’re away. They’re basically asking to be interrupted?!

37% of respondents admitted to feeling guilty when they don’t do anything “productive” while on vacation, even though that’s what a vacation is for!

Additionally, 36% used some of their time off working another job and, on average, respondents used 2 vacation days last year to take care of a sick family member, go to a doctor’s appointment or run errands. It’s hard to critique these choices though. If you need the extra money or don’t have enough family support what else can you do?

In my next video I will share a bunch of ways to maximize mini breaks when time away isn’t possible.

The 2022 report also highlights our new reality, that pandemic-era flexible work arrangements blur the boundaries between home and work, and 45% of respondents find it more difficult to unplug, especially when their office is in the kitchen.

This new-found flexibility meant that “workcations” (working remotely from the beach cabana) have become more popular, but 80% didn’t consider these to be “true” vacations. Well… because they’re not.

If you can identify with one or more of these scenarios, here’s a reminder as to what we stand to gain by embracing unproductive holiday time:

  • Research shows that time away from the job can have physical and mental health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.
  • Neuroscientists have found that chronic exposure to stress can alter your brain structure and bring on anxiety and depression. That vacation time you’ve been putting off will provide a bit of calm and relaxation, which relieves stress. Your body and mind will have the chance to heal in ways that aren’t possible while under pressure.
  • We experience greater well being and increased mental motivation when we take time off. Our sleep and mood improves, and we’re more focused and productive. Not only that, but our relationships strengthen when we spend undistracted time with our loved ones creating memories.

Take these benefits into consideration as you plan out the rest of your summer and maybe choose to shake up your usual holiday routine.

Allow yourself to disconnect completely while away. Leave your laptop at home and say no to popping in on the weekly zoom meeting. Take two full weeks of holidays instead of a bunch of long weekends.

And consider doing something completely different. Try a new place, with different activities, and maybe even different people, especially if your usual holiday routine feels stressful, predictable, or tied up in obligation to others. Wow, that’s a whole other video topic right there.

I would love to hear about your creative, restful, fun holiday plans. How have you worked to be better at rest?

Share in the comments. Share this post. Follow me on my other channels… unless you’re on holidays, and then it can all wait!

Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you, you’ve got one chance to do this life, I say Dare to Live It Big, and dare to do your holidays differently. Dare to do them better.

Resources Galore!

♥ Does your workplace need a good dose of Post-Pandemic re-energizing this fall? Ask me about my half and full day Success-Energy Rest sessions to help you regain focus and recharge your health and productivity in this new world of work. Contact me to chat.

♥ Buy my new book via my website and I’ll send you a signed copy!

♥ Don’t forget to sign up for my 6 Day Work-Life Reset. This is the perfect time to do it, and it’s free, so click the link, and get going!

♥ Sign up for my socials below, because there’s all sorts of interesting stuff coming down the pipe.

Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc


Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


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