Vacations will make you happier, healthier, and more creative

kids playing at beach
© K Martinko

No more excuses! Book that time off and feel guiltless while doing so, since you'll be a better partner, parent, and employee as a result.

Here is a good reason to plan a vacation in the near future – it will make you healthier and happier. Far too many people fail to fit vacations into their lives, and yet taking time away from work to recharge, whether it’s on an exotic trip or a relaxing ‘staycation’ at home, has wide-ranging benefits. Studies have shown that vacations are crucial for human wellbeing for many different reasons.

Physically:

There is a strong link between people who don’t take time for vacation and the risk of heart disease. According to Quartz:

“A 2012 review of 50 years of research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that a ten-hour-or-more workday increased the risk of coronary heart risk by 80 percent, in both sexes. The researchers reasoned that the correlation may be related in part to health problems associated with longer exposure to psychological stress.”

Psychology Today reports that chronic stress takes a toll on the body, impeding its ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and avoid injury.

“When you’re stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill, your arteries take a beating, and you’re more likely to have an accident. Your sleep will suffer, you won’t digest your food as well, and even the genetic material in the cells of your body may start to become altered in a bad way.”

Mentally:

Vacations make people less depressed. They break the stress cycle, clear our minds, and provide perspective on our problems. A Swedish study from 2013 found that people who take vacations may boost the mental health of people around them. From the abstract: “Dispensation of antidepressants declined logarithmically with increase in the number of vacationing workers, for men and women alike.”

People who work excessively lose their creativity, since our minds need time and space to wander in order to come up with unusual, out-of-the-box solutions. Quartz cites a 2008 Finnish study that found that people who work 55 hours a week over five years showed lower cognitive function and decreased vocabulary and reasoning.

Vacations can also improve family relations, assuming the environment is a positive one for all.

“Family vacations can contribute positively to family bonding, communication and solidarity. Vacations promote what is called the ‘crescive bond’ (in sociological parlance, a ‘shared experience’) by fostering growth and enduring connections.” (Psychology Today)

If you haven’t managed to squeeze in a vacation during the summer, don’t give up. The fall is also a lovely time to get away. Most importantly, don’t bite off more than you can chew. A vacation is meant to be a time to recharge, and yet we’ve all been on those trips when one returns feeling more exhausted and drained than when one left. Take it easy, plan for relaxation, and feel guilt-free while doing so, secure in the knowledge that you’ll be a better parent, partner, and employee as a result.

Tags: Health | Holidays | Vacation | Work

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