Remember summer vacation when you were a kid? The anticipation of the last days of school and, even better, the seemingly endless days of summer stretched out before you? Now imagine having that feeling today, or at least a slice of it as you anticipate a long weekend or an even longer two weeks away from work.

Been awhile since you’ve gone on vacation, you say? You’re not alone. More than one-third of U.S. adults do not always take all of their vacation days, according to travel Web site Expedia’s annual “Vacation Deprivation” survey.

Perhaps it’s because 38 percent of us regularly work more than 40 hours a week, according to Expedia, or maybe we’re too ambitious, too afraid of being replaced, or are just have a hard time indulging in relaxation -- even though we should.

Vacations are Good for You

There’s a reason why vacations feel so good, and it’s that they are good for us in so many different ways. On a health level, vacations are like preventive medicine, allowing you to de-stress your body and mind before they blow.

"Workplace stress can take its toll. In order to maintain a strong state of mental health, the human body needs a release and a source of replenishment," says Dr. Dorothy Cantor, president of the American Psychological Foundation. “An ideal vacation should eliminate stress, encourage relaxation and provide opportunities for rejuvenation, making the benefits of the experience immeasurable."

From a career perspective, while many employees fear taking a vacation will set them back, the opposite is actually true. Vacations are necessary for you to be productive and efficient at work. In fact, according to a study by the Families and Work Institute, employees who are overworked (i.e., those who do NOT take vacations) are more likely to:

• Make mistakes
• Be angry at their employers and colleagues who don’t work as hard
• Have higher stress levels
• Feel symptoms of clinical depression
• Neglect themselves and report poor health

Relationships also stand to benefit from the time away. When’s the last time you gazed into your partner’s eyes as the sun set in an exotic locale? Created irreplaceable memories exploring a new city together? Showed your kids a bit of a culture they’ve never seen? Can’t remember? It’s time to cash in your vacation days.

How to Make the Most of Your Time Off

The point of a vacation is to relax and enjoy yourself, yet many of us get so bogged down with the details, the expectations and the mindset of having the “perfect” trip that we created undue stress. In fact, a full 50 percent of Americans say they need two days to “unwind” from their vacations, and the other 50 percent need even longer, according to the Families and Work Institute study.

“When we go on vacation, most of us need a vacation when we’re done because it takes most of the trip to put down the baggage from our regular life,” says Hale Dwoskin, author of “The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-being” and CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates.

The Sedona Method, a scientifically proven and vastly popular tool, can ensure you don't feel drained after your vacation -- and teaches you how to stop carrying feelings of guilt, anxiety or fear of losing your job when you should be enjoying your trip. This is done through a simple technique called 'releasing.'

“As you learn to release in action, you will need vacations less because you’ll feel like you are on vacation all the time,” says Dwoskin. “However, when you do go on vacation, the Method shows you how to let go of the negative feelings -- the feelings you took with you because you are still thinking about your problems. When you release, your mind quiets and this allows you to enjoy your vacation a lot more quickly.”

Moreover, The Sedona Method’s releasing technique will help you get every ounce of pleasure from your trip.

“When you use The Sedona Method, you are fully present, which means you enjoy all of your time a lot more. Because of this, when you return home you’ll feel truly refreshed, the way a vacation is supposed to make you feel,” Dwoskin explains.