It is a well-known fact that the South African job market is tough. With the unemployment rate sitting at over 25%, those who have jobs want to keep them at all costs. Many people work over time to prove their worth, charging full steam ahead without taking a break. But at what cost?

According a study done by Farmingham Heart Study, not taking time off work can have devastating consequences for you, such as heart disease and early death.

Men who take regular vacations are 32% less likely to die of heart attacks and 21% less likely to die early, the study says. And women who go on vacation have a 50% lower risk of heart attack.

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Ironically, over-workers, or “Work Place Martyrs” are also more likely to get fired than those who take leave. Overworked people are not as productive as those who take care of their health.

Career advice website The Muse says getting away from the office gives you time to get perspective on your job. This can be the time to come up with new ideas from a fresh mind and can even lead to you implementing game-changing ideas.

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Furthermore, allowing yourself to have time to recharge also changes the way you conduct yourself at work. Confidence and an upbeat personality are the flashing lights that set you apart from the crowd, setting you up for a promotion.

For South Africans, taking time off work is even more necessary. Our country is among the most stressful places to live in. A global study on the most stressed out nations put South Africa second after Nigeria out of 74 countries. The Bloomberg study used seven equally weighted variables: rates of homicide, the unemployment rate, GDP per capita (adjusted for purchasing-power parity), income disparity, urban air pollution, corruption and how long people live in the country.

Excessive stress makes you less productive: you get distracted easily and look for ways to alleviate your stress while you’re on the clock. All of this does not make you a model employee and certainly does not make you a candidate for a promotion.