Editor’s Note: I originally wrote this article for Livestrong.com. Vacations aren’t just fun, they’re actually good for you! Read on to learn why you should book that vacation you’ve been thinking about!

Have some vacation days stored up at work? Take them! Vacations aren’t just a time to escape reality. Studies are showing that they’re important for a healthy mind, body and spirit. But it doesn’t have to be a lavish Mediterranean getaway. A vacation can be as simple as a “staycation” in your hometown or nearby city or a long weekend at your local lake. The essence of a vacation is to take a break from your habits, the monotony and your everyday routine. It’s time to book that vacation. Doctor’s orders!

  1. Vacations Relieve Stress

Just breathe! The chronic stress of your day-to-day routine can lead to fatigue, sleep problems and high blood pressure. But taking time away from daily pressures can relieve stress and get rid of the unhealthy hormones that accompany chronic stress. According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health, time off is crucial for people to recover from the negative effects of stress that build up at work. Booking a nice, relaxing vacation helps ensure that those first signs of stress (like elevated heart rate and fatigue) don’t develop into more serious reactions.

2. Vacations Renew Your Focus

No, the world won’t fall apart if you take a break from your responsibilities. In fact, putting your to-do list on hold for a bit is essential in renewing your focus for yourself and for your job. “You unplug, unwind and leave the daily worries behind, [which] is an important practice for your mental health,” says John Liantonio, M.D., of Thomas Jefferson University. “I think of vacation as a time to take a step back and think about what’s most important.” So use your time off to reflect on your current path and if it’s truly the direction you want to be going.