Health Benefits of Taking a Vacation
As summer winds down, I hope this blog finds you just coming back from a wonderfully relaxing vacation—or getting ready to head out on one.
If you have the time off, you should take it. Almost 40 percent of Americans will lose paid vacation time at the end of the year, not taking the time off that their companies give them. Many fear the workload when they get back and others are concerned about getting work done that no one else can do.
But vacation time—or just simply taking time off from the daily grind—is absolutely essential to mental and physical wellbeing. Here's why:
√ Vacation time promotes a healthy heart. Many studies have shown a link between taking time off and a healthier heart, as well as lowered heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure. One study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, found that people who take annual vacations were 32 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 21 percent less likely to die from any cause.
√ Time off decreases depression. It boosts happiness and feelings of wellbeing—and reduces depression. Studies also show that you don't have to physically travel somewhere to see these benefits: even pursuing leisure activities—away from work—regularly can reap the same benefits as time off. Take a day off to go biking, boating, or hiking near to your home.
√ Spending time away from work boosts productivity and creativity once you're back at work. Vacation time literally clears your head so you can start fresh again. Combine time off with being outside—a hiking vacation or camping outdoors, for example—and you can even boost inspiration and inventiveness.
√ Vacation can improve your relationships. One study found that women who take regular vacations are more satisfied with their marriages—and are overall less tense. I would say the same could apply to men as well!
Why vacations/days off do so much for mental and physical health: time off reduces chronic stress, which wreaks havoc on your body, mind, and soul.
So my advice to you is to shut off your computer and your phone—and get away from your work for a day or two, or more. Your body and spirit will thank you.
Relax and enjoy your time off!