We all know that Americans are taking way fewer vacation days than they should be—but if you’re stuck in an office this summer with a crippling sense of FOMO, don’t worry, because your absentee coworkers probably aren’t doing anything too interesting.
According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research with more than 1,000 people across the country, 40 percent of Americans will take five or more days off each year—that’s an entire work week!—just to catch up on sleep. The results of the study, published in Princess Cruises’s seventh annual “Relaxation Report,” also reveal that 68 percent of Americans have used vacation days for non-vacations—including covering family emergencies, doctor’s appointments, sick days for kids, around-the-house projects (renovations, repairs, etc), and everyday errands.
When Americans do manage to tear themselves away from desk and family obligations, they’re still stressed out. Nearly half—43 percent and 42 percent—of working Americans from the northeast and western U.S., respectively, feel “more stressed on vacation because they can’t stop thinking about work.” Comparatively, southerners and midwesterners have less of a problem chilling out—survey says that 67 percent of those from the midwest “never or hardly ever feel guilty about relaxing.” This career anxiety affects women more than men—with 48 percent of women feeling guilty about taking time off versus 39 percent of men—with men taking more days off per year (eight, compared to seven for women) just to catch up on ZZZs.
Whatever you plan on doing with your allotted days off, the most important thing is to take them. Last year, Americans left 222 million vacation days on the cutting room floor—an estimated $61.4 billion in wasted benefits. That’s, like, doing volunteer work at your job. Come on, do you really like your boss that much?
Source: Conde Nast Traveler