Data pulled from WXYZ (WXYZ) – We love vacations so we can relax and forget about work. But, if you don’t do it right you won’t reap the benefits. One of the problems with vacation time is – fewer of us are taking your full allotted days off, and that includes ME! Research found over a 15-year time span, many Americans lost almost a full week of vacation days. And on top of that, 60% kept working while they were away. It’s very beneficial especially for your mental health. It puts you in a new frame of mind, allows you to de-stress and will boost your mood. It can refuel motivation to achieve goals and up your productivity upon returning to work. One study found 94% of over 400 travelers surveyed said they had as much or more energy upon returning home from an enjoyable trip. And 55% reported they had higher energy levels than before. But you need to do it right, as a stressful vacation will eliminate these benefits. There are a few key steps you should take, so here are my prescriptions: Partha’s RX 1. Plan ahead, at least one month in advance. Leaving trip details to the last minute can cause stress and impact your outlook and energy upon returning. 2. How long you’re away or where you go doesn’t matter. But, do plan at least one memorable activity like a picturesque walk or a special dinner. 3. Manage your expectations. Everyone wants the perfect vacation, but that’s not realistic. Accept the fact that things will go wrong and move on. 4. Before leaving town, set up an out-of-the-office message. This will notify recipients and lessen the amount of emails you’ll get while you’re away. Question: Speaking of emails, what should you do if you’re anxious about all the emails piling up while your off work? I’d love to say leave your smartphone at home, but how this is handled is up to you. If you can leave work behind while away, that’s great. But if it causes you worry and stress, checking your email could make you feel more secure. But do set a time limit and stick to it. Copyright 2017 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.