With summer vacation season upon us, it seems like the perfect time to stop and consider taking a break from your work. Do you long for a nice break from work but have zero days to take off? Or, alternatively, do you have plenty of vacation days built up but too many projects in your way? Having a solid work ethic is a very important quality that an employer looks for in his or her top employees, but there has to be a line drawn between a hard worker and one who is overworked. Where and how do you draw that line?

There are several questions that you need to be asking yourself on a steady basis, ways in which you need to stay in touch with yourself and how you really feel about your everyday grind. Some punch the clock day in and day out and love every minute of it. Others force themselves out of bed and begrudgingly hurry off to work, only to spend every minute of the day watching the clock in hopes that quitting time will come as soon as possible. Most of us fall somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum. We chose our career path because there was something about the work that set off a spark in us. We continue in our jobs because we need the income and can tolerate the work, with some days seeming more fulfilling and joy-giving than others.

But, could it be that our long days at work are a drag simply because we haven’t taken the time to break the monotony? We haven’t said no to a project or made the decision to dial back in a way that allows us to actually utilize that accrued time off. What good is the receiving of vacation days and PTO if we aren’t slowing down to take advantage of it?

So, as the temperatures rise outside and your favorite spot to relax beckons you, whether that be on the coast of a tropical island or the hammock in your own backyard, consider the possibility of letting go of a few projects at work and making plans to use those days off that you so greatly deserve. There is a strong possibility that your job will not suffer for requesting earned time off. You may have to entrust some important clients to your colleague or delegate some daily tasks to your new hire in order to keep the ball rolling in your absence, but it’s time to step up and do whatever it takes to take better care of yourself.

Taking time out to refuel and remember what it is about your job that you love is a very necessary part of becoming a better and more efficient employee. Burnout is not something that you want for yourself in the future, so, whether it’s been a few months or a few years since your last vacation from work, take the time to step out of the office and into your happy place!