We all deserve a break every now and then -- whether it's a true vacation or just a few days to yourself to unplug and relax.

But, well-deserved or not, there's still a little bit of guilt that comes along with leaving your professional responsibilities behind for an extended period of time.

There will still be work left to accomplish and emails flooding into your inbox -- and, when it's quite literally your job to take care of those things, you can't help but to feel a little shameful about checking out for a couple of days.

Beyond that, there's this feeling that perhaps you shouldn't want to take a break. After all, if you truly loved your work, why would you ever want to be away from it? Shouldn't it always make you feel fulfilled and inspired, rather than ready for a vacation?

Yes, there's plenty of self-deprecating things we tell ourselves when we're preparing to take some time off. However, that doesn't necessarily make them true.

As a matter of fact, vacations are a great thing for you and your career (not to mention your sanity). Here are a few of the many reasons why.

1. They Make You More Productive

You've heard the numerous science-backed claims that taking short breaks provides an instant boost to your productivity. Imagine, then, what a real vacation can do.

According to a Project: Time Off study, 77% of hiring managers agree that employees who take most or all of their vacation time are more productive than those who don't.

So, as counterintuitive as it may seem, don't hesitate to disconnect and relax every now and then. Believe it or not, it can actually help you get more done.

2. They Make You More Creative

Chances are, you've been here before: Staring slack-jawed at that menacing blinking text cursor, feeling totally stuck and uninspired.

Rather than waste your time doing nothing, you abandoned that project for a while. And, when you finally came back to it? You were able to tackle it without an issue.

That's evidence that taking breaks (even short ones) can increase your creativity and your ability to problem solve.

So, when it comes to those longer vacations away from your normal habits and daily routine? Well, you're bound to come back with a totally fresh perspective and even more new ideas.

3. They Give You a Chance to Reevaluate

You have a lot to get done in any given day -- which means it's often all too easy to get so wrapped up in the minutiae of your daily work, that you end up missing the forest for the trees.

This is where a true vacation can really help you to take a step back and get a renewed view of what's truly important to them.

"The impact that taking a vacation has on one's mental health is profound," Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist specializing in stress and relationship management, told ABC News, "Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out."

4. They're Necessary

Consider this your friendly wakeup call: You can absolutely love your work and still be justified in taking a vacation every now and then. You adore your job -- but work is still, well, hard work.

So, don't give yourself a guilt trip when you feel the need to check out of your professional responsibilities for a few days. Because, as it turns out, a vacation is actually a great thing for you and your career. Plus, you've more than earned it.

Published on: Dec 22, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.