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You really should be using all of your vacation days

Don't feel guilty about taking a beach vacation. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Don't feel guilty about taking a beach vacation.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Have you heard the expression "Work hard, play hard"? In most workplaces, it may as well be "Work harder and then work some more."

Each year, thousands of Americans fail to use all of their allotted vacation time - resulting in what one Expedia study said was 557 million unused days going to waste each year. In addition to being a loss of both relaxation and money for these employees, the travel industry takes a hit as well. The forecasting group Oxford Economics says that all that unused time means that$67 billion in travel spending is lost annually.

But what about individual workers who never go on vacation? Are they really unhappier than those who do use their days? The answer, reports the Washington Post, is yes.


A new study out of Sweden found that people who returned from vacation were not only happier and more relaxed when they returned back home, that happiness also spread to others, creating a mini-wave of joy of sorts. To test out their theory, the researchers examined the monthly antidepressant usage of Swedes between 1993 and 2005. They found that the number of prescriptions exponentially dropped when more people were on vacation at the same time.

The biggest drop in prescriptions came during the summer, which the researchers say is unsurprising given the fact that in Sweden each worker is granted 5 weeks of vacation each year.

It should be noted that here in the United States, there is no national vacation policy, making it the only developed country in the world without such a mandate.

Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.

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