According to a study by the US Travel Association, American workers are amazingly leaving behind 169 million vacation days per year. That's a sure sign that people don’t value the time off. Perhaps it simply because many people don’t know how to use a vacation day to their advantage.

Vacation days are critically important if you are going to be at your best on workdays. It doesn’t matter if they are public holidays or just time you take off your self. You have to make the most of these days or they are simply time and opportunity wasted.

I suppose you could just hang around the BBQ and drink beer, but that won’t help you feel rested, ready and energized to get back on track for success. Try these ways below that successful people restore themselves. Then you'll be ready to crank things up a notch when you go back to work.

1. Shut it all down.

For many people vacation days are really work-ation days. They are constantly checking email and working on their smartphone. Worse, some people use the day as a catch-up day for the work they couldn’t finish. They end the day more tired than they began. Take a real break. Turn off the phone and take an email holiday. Try and go at least 6 hours of the day with no electronics at all. You might notice a few surprises in the world around that you have missed.

2. Share it with someone you love.

There are few achievers I know who feel they spend enough time with their significant other, kids or friends. This is a great chance to schedule 12--14 hours of quality time to reconnect. You don’t have to plan big trips or head to the theme park. Just hang out, talk and enjoy each others company with no distractions.

3. Make it truly "ME" time.

People who are natural givers sometimes forget to give to themselves. They may even lose sight of the fact that they don't have much left in the tank to give. Even the most generous strong people need to replenish. Take a day to pamper yourself and remind yourself how important you are. Once you feel your own love you can go back to giving to others the next day.

4. Do something extraordinary.

Too many workdays feel ordinary and blah. Take this opportunity to feel energized and excited. Try something completely different and out of your nature. Maybe even do something that will get your adrenaline going. Even hiking in an extraordinarily beautiful environment can give you a new outlook, making you ready to take on the world.

5. Improve yourself.

There are so many things that people would like to do to improve and they never get a chance to start. Between national holidays and vacation days most workers get close to 20 vacation days a year. Target those days as days where you get to make yourself smarter and better. Then watch the progress over the year.

6. Get inspired.

People can easily get absorbed in their own thoughts and viewpoints losing sight of how the world is changing around them. A vacation day is a great opportunity to open your mind and see things anew. Try a day at a museum or in the wilderness. Read a great biography or binge-watch a Ken Burns documentary. You'll start back with fresh perspective and new motivation.

7. Make it an awesome experience.

The worst thing you can do with a vacation day is make it mediocre. Not only will you go back to work feeling blah, you'll dread the next time you have a vacation day coming and maybe not even take it at all. Don't let your vacation days be a casualty. Fulfill your need of rest, make the day entertaining and do something that makes it memorable so you'll look forward to the next vacation day with anticipation.