No matter how long or short, there’s something magical about any sort of vacation, especially since such trips bring out the adventure, the joy, and the all-around laughter in life that allows us to live freely without pesky schedules, commitments, or anything that’s slightly work-related—well, at least for a little bit. There are a whole slew of benefits that can be gained from merely getting away, or from taking some time to remove yourself mentally and physically from the doldrums of daily life.
Head towards a land where, as Peter Pan once said, “dreams are born, and time is never planned.” Go be a kid again by whisking away unnecessary worries, rejuvenating the mind, body, and soul, and by creating some unforgettable memories – all by taking a nice va-cay. Statistical and analytical evidence have proven that vacations can be one of the best prescriptions for health and happiness. Here are five reasons why you should get a more frequent dose.
5 Reasons Why Taking A Vacation Is A Healthy Choice
1. Better physical health
The health benefits of taking a vacation are undeniable—even The New York Times has reported that because the stress of working can take a serious toll on the heart, both men and women who choose to take a vacation at least every couple of years (if compared to every six) will lessen their risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.
There is “real evidence that vacations are important to your physical health," says Elaine Eaker, author of the Framingham Heart Study, and it’s safe to say that all those feelings of happiness, joy, relaxation, and rejuvenation that are experienced while on any vacation can have long lasting effects that will stay with you even long after you’ve returned. Sometimes, even the planning part is an exciting thing to do with the entire family, and more often than not, a one-week escape to paradise can easily result in several weeks of utter enjoyment for both adults and kids alike.
Let’s just say that vacationing is not at all about indulgence. It is a necessity to your health and family, as it removes you mentally and physically from work. In a national survey conducted by Expedia.ca, it was found that “vacations are viewed by Canadians as medicine for the body, mind and soul, with 83% of respondents saying they feel relaxed and rejuvenated when they get home from vacation.” Another research study found that more than 90% of those surveyed recognized the importance of taking paid time off—they wholeheartedly agreed that time off helped improve their health and their lives in all major aspects. And if that weren’t enough to convince you, WebMD has also noted that those who take vacations experience lower stress levels, less risk of heart disease, have a better outlook on life, and feel more motivated to achieve their goals. The site also said that the effects of a vacation are felt up to 8 weeks prior to even taking the trip! The act of planning a vacation can have huge health benefits if done right.
2. More work productivity
Here’s the bottom line: Breaks are so much better for our brains than overtime. Where you get your break -- from a day in the park or a week golfing at Martha's Vineyard -- doesn't matter as much as when and if you actually get it. So if you care about your own productivity, don't be afraid to goof off a bit by taking a vacation. Upon returning, you’re likely to put more emphasis on work that needs to be made up, according to The New York Times. A lot of it has to do with the way humans are made because the “importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.”
As humans, we mistakenly believe that more hours will always increase output. But we ignore the clear evidence: The secret to being an effective worker is actually not working too hard. “Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts,” according to VeryWell.com. This is probably why Tony Schwartz, the chief executive officer of The Energy Project offers employees four weeks of vacation starting in their first year. Schwartz believes that providing employees significant time to take a break will help them renew themselves and come back to work even stronger. Researchers at Florida State University even looked at the performance of elite athletes, musicians, and chess players, and found that the best performers practiced in intervals of 90 minutes. They often took breaks between sessions and hardly ever worked more than four and half hours a day. It’s all about how to properly recover. Jennifer Deal, a researcher at the Center for Creative Leadership, who has examined the way executives deal with taking vacations, adds that that when bosses take time off, they come back more creative and able to think about the long run future of their companies better. If they don’t take a break, it is extremely difficult for them to “see outside of the immediate whirlwind.”
3. Newer perspectives and increased mental power
Step away from work for a while to enjoy the summer sun. When you come back to work, you will have a totally new outlook on life. CNN reported that stepping away from problems and stresses allows you to return with a better perspective in order to come out with a more satisfying answer. An example of this would be when you ask your friend for advice on a situation. The friend is removed from the scenario, and thus, can offer advice way more easily.
What’s more is that trekking around the globe allows you to immerse yourself in new cultures and cuisines that’ll introduce a whole new array of ideas that can be brought back to the workplace. Workaholics can just think of a vacation as a very relaxing and stress-free way to get even more work done. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine concluded that multicultural experiences help foster creativity and help generate ideas. Vacation also increases mental power, as research by the University of California Irvine’s Gregory Hickok found that our brains actually don’t have a reserve pool to gather energy and power from. Vacations are a means to resetting the mind.
“If we had a huge amount of brain power in reserve, we might not need vacations-- we could just tap those beach-lolling brain cells. But we don't. Time off tunes up a well-functioning brain.”
Further, U.S. News and World even spoke to experts who noted that one of the other main benefits of vacation time is that it improves mental health by invoking feelings of calm that allow the mind and body to heal in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible under pressure.
4. Closer familial relationships
One of the biggest benefits of taking a vacation is how much it affects familial relationships, psychology expert Susan Krauss Whitbourne says. “Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities (school, work and so on) help to promote these positive ties. Though family vacations can have their own share of stress, the benefits outweigh the risks, even in families that are not particularly close.”
Get in touch with the rest of the clan by doing something fun. Family vacations increase family bonding, especially when there are an array of activities, moments, and memories to be shared. A Disney Time Survey also supports this with further evidence, finding that families who went on vacation together were brought much closer together and felt way more connected afterwards.
5. Overall Happiness
Fact: The more vacations you take, the happier you’ll be. So simply said, as far as vacations go, the more the merrier. A study done at Erasmus University in Rotterdam in 2010 found that among about 1,500 Dutch adults in which 974 of them took a vacation, those who took time off were much happier than those who did not, mostly because they were excited in anticipation for their vacation-- they even exhibited signs of slightly increased happiness for two weeks after they returned from their getaway.undefinedBloomberg reportedundefinedsays Francine Lederer,undefined
This article was written by Pamela Chan.