Amer­i­can work­ers are noto­ri­ous for being worka­holics. In fact, The Cen­ter for Eco­nom­ic and Pol­i­cy Research has gone so far as to call the U.S. the “No Vaca­tion Nation.”  Decid­ing you need a vaca­tion may feel indul­gent but in real­i­ty, it is a cru­cial key to our over­all health.

Why do you need to take a vacation?

Sim­ple.

As much as we all need to work and do our jobs, the mind and body also need to be refreshed.

So put down your phone, tuck away your lap­top and enjoy these five rea­sons why vaca­tions are nec­es­sary for your health:

Decrease in Heart Dis­ease — Going on a vaca­tion gives you over­all health ben­e­fits that can impact your life for years to come.  Tak­ing reg­u­lar vaca­tions could help reduce the risk for meta­bol­ic syn­drome – a clus­ter of health issues includ­ing high blood sug­ar, high blood pres­sure, excess bel­ly fat and abnor­mal cho­les­terol lev­els.  All of these symp­toms raise the risk for heart dis­ease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Relieves Stress - Stress can have a neg­a­tive effect on all aspects of your health–physically, men­tal­ly and emo­tion­al­ly. Headaches, back pain, anx­i­ety, irri­tabil­i­ty, lack of con­cen­tra­tion and frus­tra­tion are just a few of the harm­ful effects of stress.  Tak­ing a vaca­tion helps relieve the built-up anx­i­ety, which can low­er your blood pres­sure, help you sleep bet­ter and build up your immune sys­tem.   Hol­i­days will not only help you relieve stress but can help you man­age it bet­ter when you get back to the real world.

Increas­es Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty — It may seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive to leave work and take a relax­ing vaca­tion to increase your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, but it’s sur­pris­ing­ly effec­tive. Numer­ous stud­ies reveal tak­ing vaca­tions is close­ly linked to pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Employ­ees who take long, reg­u­lar vaca­tions return more ener­gized, pro­duc­tive, and positive.

Enrich­es Your Per­son­al Life — U.S. chil­dren with work­ing par­ents report that their par­ents are bring­ing their work-relat­ed stress home with them.  Addi­tion­al­ly, kids have sig­nif­i­cant stress of their own.  Vaca­tions offer all fam­i­ly mem­bers time to relax, decom­press, and the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with one another.

Qual­i­ty of life is depen­dent on how you appre­ci­ate your­self and those who are around you. It could be with your­self, fam­i­ly or friends; but only vaca­tions from a busy sched­ule can offer you time to appre­ci­ate the peo­ple around you.

Builds Your Immune Sys­tem — A busy life wears you down. You can fight it all you want, but even­tu­al­ly every­thing will be too much and exhaus­tion will set in. When you’re tired and stressed from work and your home life, you’re more sus­cep­ti­ble to catch­ing the cold and flu. Vaca­tions help relieve stress, allow­ing your immune sys­tem to build back up.

It is impor­tant to be self­ish some­times. As the old say­ing goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Get­ting out of your com­fort zone and expe­ri­enc­ing some­thing new is good for your body, mind and those around you.