Author: Brennah Dycus
Are you tired from your everyday grind? Is your work/life balance way out of whack? Trust us, you are not alone! While no one needs another excuse to take time away from work, we are here to break down one of the most important reasons; your health! Research shows Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. They also take less vacations, work longer days, and are now retiring later. It’s time we say ‘enough is enough’ and learn to put our needs first.
A number of studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and psychological health benefits. It is proven to lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals – do you really need any more convincing? Probably not, but just in case, here is a list of the additional benefits of taking time away from work.
Improved Physical Health
Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle. Stress can have a negative effect on all aspects of your health–physically, mentally and emotionally. Headaches, back pain, anxiety, irritability, lack of concentration and frustration are just a few of the harmful effects of stress. Even more frightening, stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure. For both men and women, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks! Vacationing helps relieve the built up stress and anxiety, which can lower your blood pressure, help you sleep better and build up your immune system.
Improved Mental Health
In a study of 485 United States adults, experience in foreign travel was linked to a greater ability to direct attention and energy, which helps us function more effectively in diverse situations. Spending time in unfamiliar places, you become tolerant and even more accepting of your own discomfort. This results in gaining more confident in your ability to navigate ambiguous situations. Even more, neuroscientists have found that brain structure is altered by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which can be a major contributing factor to anxiety and depression. All of the positive and calming feelings that arise from time away from work ultimately relieves stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.
Greater Overall Well-Being
Studies have found that days after vacation, subjects’ physical complaints, quality of sleep, and overall mood had improved as compared to before their vacation. Those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacation found they were still present even five weeks later! How do you ensure overall satisfaction during your vacation? The answer is easy – Detach! Don’t feel obligated to check or respond to those emails, they can wait. Give your body and mind time to reset and rest. You will thank yourself for weeks afterwards!
Decreased Burn Out
People who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience the “burnout”. We all know that burnout feeling – feet dragging to work, eyes dropping while completing that assignment. Relaxing and getting out of that mentality results in making us more creative and productive than our overworked, under-rested counterparts. For example, this study showed that hiking in nature disconnected from all devices for four days—a very unusual experience in our day and age—led to a 50 percent spike in creativity!
To sum it up, even your employer will thank you for taking all your vacation days!
We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again. We gain perspective on our problems, get to relax with our families and friends, and get a break from our usual routines. It is important to achieve a balance in our work and daily life. Now that we know how important it is to institute this into our lives, when will your next vacation be?
Fall is one of the most popular seasons in Red River Gorge – what better way to brighten your mood now than to start planning your vacation later?