Life can be a very tiring journey. Each and every day we face commitments, responsibilities and expectations interspersed with moments of joy and relaxation. As days go by the moments of joy and relaxation can get lost in the chaotic shuffle of making it through the day. So what do you do when it all gets to be too much, and you’ve lost sight of the joy in your life?

You escape. You take a break from your everyday life and go on vacation.

By definition, a vacation is “an extended period of recreation” and allows you a chance to rest, relax and reconnect with activities and experiences that bring you joy. Whether your idea of a vacation is lounging on the beach or exploring foreign locales, making time for an extended period of recreation can leave you refreshed and ready to tackle any challenge that you face.

The real value of vacation is often understated and undervalued, especially if you have a demanding work schedule or find it difficult to pay your bills each month. However, this downtime is critical to your health, wellness and happiness.

Without a break, you may start to experience chronic stress, which affects people from all walks of life and can have potentially deadly effects. From increased risk of heart disease to higher levels of insomnia, depression and anxiety, chronic stress can wreck havoc in every area of your life. A vacation is one of the first steps you can take to fight against the devastating consequences of chronic stress.

If you’re anything like most Americans, you may have a long list of reasons that prevent you from taking a vacation. You may not have time to take from work, money in the bank or the ability to travel somewhere special. All of these excuses are holding you back from experiencing the multitude of benefits arising from getting away from it all, even if it’s for a short time.

Excuse #1: No Time

The more demanding your job, the more important it is to take a break from the workplace. However, it’s not always feasible to find the right time to take off for vacation. To help ensure that you’ll get the break you need is to plan your vacation during off peak seasons at your work. It might not be realistic to take a spring vacation if you’re a CPA in the middle of tax season or to see the fall foliage if you’re a football coach. By planning your time off during a slower season at work, you increase your chances of getting away without feeling guilty!

Excuse #2: No Money

It’s hard to argue that you have to take a vacation when your bank account is nearing empty or if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. While you shouldn’t go into debt to take a vacation, with some planning, saving and smart moves, you can plan an affordable vacation. You might look into saving $5 a week or taking advantage of discount travel sites or the local attractions near your home base.

It’s important to realize that a vacation doesn’t have to include long-distance travel or exotic locations. All that matters is you enjoy an extended period of time doing what you enjoy so that you can return to your daily life refreshed and ready to face the day.