Is It Time For a Vacation?

Many of us work long days, get home, and then continue thinking about work or actually doing work in the evenings. In fact, 52% of people reported answering emails before and after work, and 71% of people work outside working hours (APA, 2013). Of course, not everyone finds their job to be high stress, in fact, 37% of Canadian workers reported being highly stressed (Statistics Canada, 2015).

Workers that experience high levels of stress over a prolonged period of time are at significantly higher risk for job burnout. Burnout is defined as experiencing physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, followed by reduced performance and negative attitudes towards one’s self and others (Westman & Etzion, 2001). Job burnout rates are highest today than ever before. The chances of burnout are also higher in employees that work in companies with negative work culture with unclear job expectations (CMHA, 2016). Burnout can lead to many negative health and performance outcomes, including physical and emotional exhaustion, anxiety, depression, reduced work performance and an overall reduction in life satisfaction (Westman & Etzion, 2001).

Why should employers be concerned about job burnout?

  1. Employees experiencing burnout are more likely to take sick days from work (Dwyer and Ganster, 1991). Unplanned sick-days cause disruption and loss of productivity in the workplace.
  2. Reduced productivity rates and lower employee performance levels (Westman & Etzion, 2001).
  3. Negative workplace culture that increases stress for entire team, impacting everyone's mental health

Why should employees be concerned about job burnout?

  1. Burnout negatively impacts your mental and physical health, and reduces your life satisfaction
  2. Reduced work performance
  3. Strains social relationships with family and friends

Have you been dreading going to work in the mornings? Are you experiencing burnout? If so, you may be in need of a vacation from work! Studies have shown that vacations from work can reduce strain levels and absenteeism rates (Westman & Etzion, 2001; Etzion et al., 1998; Westman and Eden, 1997). Taking a vacation from work was found to be an effective stress management intervention (Westman & Etzion, 2001).

Need some help deciding your next vacation? Here is a list of vacation ideas to get you started:

  1. Road trip – Save money on airfare by driving instead. Choose an exciting new location that you have always wanted to visit.
  2. Tropical vacation – Go to a beach and de-stress by the ocean.
  3. Visiting family vacation – Pack your bags and visit family members in a different country or city.
  4. Wellness vacation – Go on a yoga or spa retreat.
  5. Volunteer vacation – If you get bored easily, try a volunteer vacation. Passionate about a great cause? Turn it into a vacation. There are many great organizations around the world that accept international volunteers for short durations. You will be able to get away from the stresses of work and feel great knowing you are making a positive difference.
  6. Cruise – Love the ocean and boats? A cruise vacation might be for you.
  7. Stay-cation - take a few days off and explore your own city!

What are some good vacation spots you have taken or plan to take this year?



APA. (2013). Retrieved from

CMHA. (2016). Retrieved from

Dilts, D.A., Deitsch, C.R. and Paul, R.J. (1985) Getting absent workers back on the job: An analytical approach. New York: Quorum Books.

Dwyer, D.J. and Ganster, D.C. (1991) The effects of job demands and control on employee attendance and satis- faction. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 12, 595–608.

Etzion, D., Eden, D. and Lapidot, Y. (1998) Relief from job stressors and burnout: Reserve service as a respite. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 377–585.

Statistics Canada. (2015). Retrieved from

Westman, M., & Etzion, D. (2001). The impact of vacation and job stress on burnout and absenteeism. Psychology & Health, 16(5), 595-606. doi: 10.1080/08870440108405529