Go on vacation. Your heart needs it. Really. In the long list of studies I’ve shared extolling the virtue of holidays and warning about overwork, this one is the most important: A massive study published last year showed that employees who put in more overtime had much higher likelihood of heart disease and stroke. Those who put in 55 hours or more per week had a 33% increased risk of stroke and 13% greater chance of developing heart disease than those who didn’t work overtime.
Once in a while, I try to take my own advice.
Sorry I’ve been writing a bit less than normal lately. I was on “vacation.” At least, that’s what I call driving across country. For the first time in years, I attempted to completely shut down, and the site was a little dormant. Of course, I still “worked,” but if by working you mean chatting with people around the country over a coffee or beer, than I never stopped.
I was able to turn this quick piece for the good folks at Grow, the personal finance site attached to the investing-app Acorns. It’s about — the value of vacations. And why taking a holiday is good for your career. Really. Here’s a taste of the piece, but you can read the full item at Grow.
As summer winds down, “the back to school sale” signs go up, and the days start getting shorter, you are probably feeling a few pangs of regret. Should have spent more time at the beach, or the cabin, or on the road. But if you are like most Americans, you shove those feelings aside thinking you are doing your career some good.
More than half of Americans now leave paid vacation time on the table, quite literally donating an estimated $61 billion in free labor to their corporations, according to a new study by Project: Time Off, a group that studies Americans’ vacation habits. There’s no other word for this behavior: It’s crazy.
It’s also dangerous. A growing body of research shows that overwork is hazardous to your health. Really hazardous. A massive study published last year showed that employees who put in more overtime had much higher likelihood of heart disease and stroke.
A separate study found that workaholics had a higher likelihood of also suffering from an anxiety disorder, ADHD or obsessive compulsive behavior. (It’s a correlation, not a causation, but still…)
Maybe — just maybe — you’d take these risks in order to ensure you got ahead in your career and could better provide for your family. If that’s your logic, you should know that plenty of other research shows working more hours is negatively correlated with getting raises and bonuses. For example, according to Project: Time Off, people who take all of their vacation time have a 6.5% higher chance of getting a promotion or a raise than workers who leave more than two weeks’ vacation on the table.
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