I have always struggled with taking time off from work. Not because I don’t enjoy a vacation—but because it is stressful for me to be away from my computer for even just a few days.

It seems that I am not alone. Last year, one-third of Americans’ paid vacation time went unused. COVID contributed to that—some people are holding out for a time when they can take unrestricted vacations…others who work from home are having a hard time distinguishing between where work ends and ­personal time begins.

The truth is, America falls far behind other countries when it comes to vacation—employers in European Union countries, for example, are required to provide a mandatory 20 days of paid vacation time each year.

Thankfully, US employers are now realizing how important downtime is and are trying to encourage workers to take time off. Some employers have increased the amount of paid vacation time…some are shutting down the entire company for a week at a time…and others are offering unlimited vacation time but that seems to have muddied the waters. Workers in those companies are taking even less time off because there is no clear mandate about how much time they are allowed to take.

In the end, though, the burden falls on us—the workers. You know when you are nearing burn-out and how important taking some time for yourself is. And you also know you shouldn’t feel guilty about your own self-care.

So now that the world is opening up again, perhaps it is time to start ­planning that vacation!

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