01/09/2015 10:59 am ET Updated Mar 11, 2015

Watch This Sloth Save American Lives

Everyone is talking about it: Americans don't take enough vacation time. Study after study tells us that we're not finding anything close to a work-life balance. The reasons for that may vary - the stress of leaving the office only to return to backlogs of work, the pressure to prove your own worth and not be seen as replaceable, financial struggles - but at the end of the day, those are all excuses.

Too many Americans are squandering away opportunities to relax and recharge. By constantly pushing for more and never taking a step back to reflect, we are actually defeating ourselves and our ability to create and to brainstorm. Our best ideas often strike while we're away from work!

Yet here we are, 2015 has begun with a fresh batch of vacation days there for the taking. If we judge from 2014's numbers, about 40% of Americans won't even use a single day. Not one! Let's change that this year. Let's take time for ourselves, for our families, and for our personal growth. Let's take time away to be even better at what we do.

If you still need to be convinced to take your vacation days even after reading what scientists, famous entrepreneurs, and statistics all indicate, don't worry - there's more.

Brilliantly created by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), I give you the appropriately titled video "Save the Americans."

If you're not smiling and instead you're thinking, "I just wasted those minutes when I could have been working on that report," then you seriously need to get away.

I guarantee you won't remember these three minutes of work emails, but you will remember a singing turtle. And even if you don't actually take a vacation from work, at least I've tricked you into taking a quick break to balance out your day. Maybe you can make it a habit and start taking more time to allow yourself the space to be creative and to problem-solve. Whether to Costa Rica or just a day to sleep in and relax at home, vacation days are provided to workers for a reason. Make time for yourself and you'll soon see the benefits.

Amanda Walkins is a freelance writer currently based in Roatan, Honduras. She blogs about her accidental expat life at