Take a break and give your heart, your mind, and your body a day to rest and relax.

According to the United States Department of Labor, Labor Day constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. What was originally intended to consist of parades and to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations, now marks the beginning of school, the beginning of the football season, and the end of summer.

But over the years, Americans are finding it harder and harder to unplug and actually take a break on Labor Day. They are bringing more and more work home and forgoing vacations in an attempt to get more work done.

A recent Pew Research shows that 35% of adults say that the internet, cell phones and email actually increase the amount of time they spend working and 41% of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day in 2015, according to a Skift survey. Fifty-five percent of Americans didn’t use all of their vacation days in 2015, according to a recent Project Time Off study.

Suffice it to say, Americans are working hard but without adequate time away from work, putting themselves at risk of increased stress, anxiety, heart problems, weight gain and a lot of other physical and mental problems that come from not enough rest.

Studies have shown that even one day of rest has cardiovascular-health benefits…..

  • The Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial for the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The trial followed 12,000 men over a nine-year period that had a high risk for coronary heart disease. The study found that any such men who take frequent annual vacations were 21 percent less likely to die from any cause and were 32 percent more likely to die from heart disease.
  • The landmark Framingham Heart Study – the largest and longest-running study of cardiovascular disease – revealed that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks compared to men who did not take time off. And women who took a vacation only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.

Other benefits of taking a vacation or simply the day off include less stress, decreased depression, and an improvement in production.

Here are 5 reasons we need a day off:

  1. Sleep – studies have tied a lack of sleep to health problems, including weight gain and diabetes.
  2. Less Burn Out – Being in constant contact with your job can sow seeds of resentment and bitterness in employees causing them to seek new positions.
  3. Exercise – One of the most positive ways to reduce stress is exercise.
  4. Mental – Ideas that once flowed easily dry up, and tasks that you should be able to perform quickly become excruciatingly difficult … Give your brain, and yourself, some rest.
  5. Relationships – Quality time with loved ones will strengthen those relationships which, in turn, results in less stress and higher production at work.

Don’t wait until you’re exceptionally stressed or overwhelmed, or physically run down and exhausted to take a day off. When a holiday comes and the office is closed, leave your work at work (or wherever) and really disconnect from the job. Your heart, your mind, and your family will thank you for making the work/life balance a priority!