We all know that work is a necessity—one that eats up most of our waking hours. But what about our personal needs? While much has been written about finding the “work-life balance,” research shows that Americans still have trouble focusing on the “life” side of the equation. Over half of all Americans reach the end of year without having used their paid time off (PTO). That’s not just sad—it’s also problematic.

Taking vacation time—you time—is crucial. And science backs this up. The benefits, to both your personal health and your work productivity, are myriad. It turns out that the key to finding happiness at work is building in time to not be at work. Here’s why you need to escape—and why Las Vegas is the perfect place to escape to.

Work is stressful
Deadlines that never stop piling up, emails that won’t stop arriving, bosses that are hard to please—work is just stressful. And stress hurts. Failing to take time to destress can have ill effects on virtually every system in your body—from gastrointestinal distress and muscle strain, to being more susceptible to colds, infections, and heart disease. And this is to say nothing of the mental and emotional issues that stress can conjure up or worsen.

Unwinding is essential for both body and mind, and Las Vegas has everything you need to decompress. Create your own customized relaxation experience—whether it’s treating yourself to a Deep Tissue Surrender at the Qua baths & Spa at Caesars Palace, or blissing out in their Roman Baths or Arctic Ice Room. You’ll find yourself returning as a whole new you. 

You’ll be more productive, and your boss will be happier
We know that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” But all work, all the time doesn’t just make you dull—it also makes you less productive. In fact, a recent internal study by the professional services firm Ernst & Young found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation time employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8 percent. Vacation time renews our energy and boosts creativity and productivity. But most of us stay chained to our cubicles, letting our PTO accrue and roll over without taking the opportunity to recharge the batteries.

All of this means that you shouldn’t feel guilty about trading in your desk for a table in the Vegas Strip—with drinks and world-class dining. Try Alexxa's at Paris Las Vegas for a slick take on American cuisine, and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store in their actual attached candy store. But this isn’t kid stuff—leave the little ones at home and savor authentic, hand-crafted bean-to-bar chocolate topped off by one of their stress-busting signature cocktails.

There are health benefits to cutting loose
Being professional is critical to job performance—but it’s only one side to your personality. The outgoing, laughing, and relaxing sides of your personality need to be expressed as well. Bottling up all of your less professional impulses for most of your waking hours takes its toll. It’s hard to be happy when we spend so much time suppressing feelings, denying impulses, and fitting into a mold.

It’s time to get out from under the boss’s microscope and be your truest, freest self—and Las Vegas is made for cutting loose. Kick off your night with a happy hour off the Strip and into the iconic Frankie’s Tiki Room, where you’ll find yourself lost in the islands amidst the dim red glow of hand-carved tiki statues—and a custom drink menu with names like the Bearded Clam, Zombie, and Dr. No.

Vegas is the break you need
The legendary American work ethic is a boon to companies and employees alike—but if you don’t take a break, you’ll burn out. And we’re not talking about a lunch hour of scrolling through social media, or a weeknight of Netflix bingeing—although those things are fun. For true recuperation and recharging to happen, you need to get yourself away from the daily grind—from computers and emails and bosses and even kids. Really away.

If your stress levels are high and you find yourself dreading the daily commute, it’s probably time to cash in a few PTO days. Take a vacation—get away to Las Vegas. You’ll find everything you need to detox, destress, and express the self you keep under wraps nine-to-five weekdays. Cut loose, indulge your whims, and be yourself. After some quality you time, you’ll return refreshed and invigorated—armed with memories, experiences, and happiness to tie you over until your next Vegas vacation.