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American workers skipping hard-earned vacation time, increasing risk for stress related diseases such as heart attacks and anxiety

American culture

(NaturalNews) Americans are workaholics. It's been a staple of our culture since the industrial revolution, continued by the baby boomers of the 50s, and very much the norm in modern day living.

While being a hard worker is an exemplary quality, excessively working without taking breaks can have severe negative effects, not just on your ability to complete a job, but also on your mental and physical health.

It is no mystery that work is one of the main causes of stress. While some forms of stress, such as creative stress to finish a project, can be good forms of motivation, excessive stress can create a myriad of adverse health conditions.

Stress found to cause numerous diseases

Studies have found stress to be a main contributing factor in the development of heart disease, liver disease, gastrointestinal problems, infertility, depression, anxiety and diabetes.

According to Neruobic, "43% percent [sic] of all adults suffer adverse health effects because of stress," costing America over $300 billion per year.

Even though taking time off from work has been found to help alleviate stress, and even boost productivity and motivation at work after returning from vacation, most Americans just can't afford to do it.

According to a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, "half of Americans who work 50-plus hours a week say they don't take all or most of the vacation they've earned."

Furthermore, almost one third of participants said that if they do take a vacation, they often do significant amounts of work during their time off.

Americans are working their way through vacation time

Julie Hagopian, a 27-year-old Virginian working in digital marketing, is a prime example. Although she claims to love her job, she told NPR that she works at least 60 hours per week with virtually no "off switch."

"I'm on call all the time — to moderate, create content, curate everything. So, generally speaking, even when on vacation, I'm checking email and moderating social feeds," Hagopian said.

When asked if she takes conventional one to two week vacations, Hagopian said she can't afford to. Instead, she takes a few days off here and there to avoid having to burden her colleagues with an excessive workload.

Additionally, 33-year-old IT worker, Adam Rowan, told surveyors he prefers to skip vacation time entirely to avoid falling behind in production. "It's just not my thing ... I'd prefer to be at work, getting things done," he said.

Rowan and Hagopian aren't alone. NPR's jointly conducted poll found that over a third of Americans who work 50 hours or more per week skipped out on vacations in attempts to get ahead at work.

Additionally, psychologist Matthew J. Grawitch from Saint Louis University conducted a series of studies about stress in the workplace, and found that, "on average, Americans now take 16.2 days of vacation a year, compared with nearly three weeks of vacation in 2000."

Overworking has become such an increasingly alarming phenomenon that scientists have started to urge Americans to make sure that they at least take shorter, sporadically placed vacations throughout the year if they don't think they can afford to take weeks off at a time.

It's an unfortunate reality that people feel the pressing need to prioritize the importance of working constantly, over the maintenance of their own personal health.






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