It’s Columbus Day weekend, a sure sign that autumn is near its peak. But some of you never got around to taking a summer vacation — and you’re not alone. About 40 percent of workers waste their vacation days, according to a recent study from the U.S. Travel Association.

“Unfortunately, workers do not seem to realize that forfeiting their vacation time comes at the expense of their overall health, well-being and relationships,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement.

Only a fourth of employees surveyed have “use it or lose it” policies at work, and most of those who do are motivated to take vacation. But it shouldn’t take all of that.

Even if you’re worried about job security, long to-do lists or a tight budget, you owe it to yourself to take some time off — even if it’s just a little bit.

This family visited a nearby waterfall on their "staycation." (Photo: Chris Robbins/Getty Images)

This family visited a nearby waterfall on their “staycation.” (Photo: Chris Robbins/Getty Images)

So this long weekend, consider these ideas for a “staycation.” And enjoy.

•Find a deal at a local hotel or bed-and-breakfast for a day or two. Let someone else make your meals and do the cleaning.

•Got a timeshare? Book a location close to home.

•Pitch a tent at a local campsite in the woods or along the shore.

•Be a tourist for a day. Visit attractions that you’ve never seen, catch an exhibit, walk a historic trail and grab a bite outdoors.

•Rent paddleboats, and savor the local scene from the water.

•Go on a fishing boat.

•Do something active in the area: Go canoeing, kayaking, hiking or biking.

•Pack a basket with your favorite snacks, grab a blanket and head to your favorite park.

•Relax by the water — bring a jacket if it’s chilly. Head to the ocean, a lake, a river or even a pond.

•Check out a local amusement park. Some feature Halloween events during weekends in October.

Yanick Rice Lamb, who teaches journalism at Howard University, is co-founder and publisher of

 About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being

We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.

To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life, or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.