If you’re like many Americans, you just finished 2016 with unused vacation days. That’s right: According to a study done recently by a market forecasting group, more than half of American workers left a total of 658 million unused vacations days in 2015. In addition, scores of Americans tend to work through lunch, and through nights and weekends, too. Plus, we’re all attached to our cell phones, looking at them almost 50 times a day, with half of users checking their devices, even in the middle of the night. We’re working non-stop and staying connected 24/7 in our quest to be productive, of course. But, ironically, the resulting burnout leads to just the opposite.
It’s difficult – if not impossible – to be productive and perform well when you’re suffering from burnout. More likely, you’re far too exhausted and in too negative a mindset to be successful at your job. You may even have physical symptoms, such as digestive problems, stomach pains, and insomnia. Your personal life may suffer, too. If all of this sounds scarily familiar, it may be time to take the necessary steps to get yourself back on track, and in a healthier mindset. That means setting boundaries for cell phone use; getting adequate sleep (7-8 hours per night); learning some stress reduction techniques such as yoga, deep breathing or meditation; and learning to say no – to yourself and, if necessary, to your employer. While that may sound extreme, consider this: Job stress costs the United States up to $190 billion a year. If burnout means you’re not performing at your best, it may be time to use some of those vacation days.