Vacations CAN and DO Improve your Health and Well-being

Melissa McAllister

Imagine spending a day or two traveling to places you’ve never been to, meeting new people, trying out new food, experiencing new cultures, and most importantly, leaving your daily grind behind. Doesn’t that sound great!?

Well, vacations can and do improve your health and wellbeing.

It’s no secret that vacations can be some of the most exciting days in a person’s lifetime, next to those big events like marriages, births, holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays.

Whether you plan for it monthly or yearly, vacations are a good way to take a break and reset your body, mind, and spirit away from your everyday routine.

So let me ask you this… how many times have you really had a good vacation?

A little time off work when you are not constantly on your laptop, thinking about your agenda or your next meeting, or the email from a colleague that you have been waiting and waiting for… Doesn’t that vacation sound great!?

Vacations give you a break

If you think vacations are optional, then you are one of the 44 million Americans who only use half or even leave all of their paid vacation days untouched each year.

Or perhaps, you belong to the 18% of the workforce who either feel guilty or too busy to even entertain the idea of taking a break from work. Come on!!!

Seriously, there are really good reasons why you are given that paid time off. Apart from the immediate pleasure of travel and having a change of scenery, vacations improve your overall health and well-being when done the right way.

Vacations are not optional!

Everyone needs a vacation from time to time and here are some of the top reasons why you need to plan for your next vacation sooner rather than later!

Vacations reduce stress

Melissa McAllister

Taking a break from work naturally frees up plenty of time to unwind, relax, and escape the mundane. A 2018 study reveals that a good vacation can result in significantly fewer stressful days for five to six weeks later.

If you don’t have the luxury to take long vacations, then it’s actually nothing to worry about. In fact, the study suggests that having short vacations might be a more sustainable option than long vacations, in managing daily stressors when you return to work.

While it’s nice to spend your vacation in other places, those who can’t afford the costs of a “formal” vacation can still reap the same benefits by planning a short staycation. So it’s safe to say that taking a break from your usual routine and environment promotes your overall well-being, which can protect you from both short-term and long-term negative health effects.

Vacations improve sleep quality

Sleep duration and quality are both very important factors affecting our stress levels and well-being. Whether it’s a workday or a holiday, sleep can make or break our overall mood and performance for the day.

But research shows that sleep duration and quality are associated with increased health and well-being changes during a long vacation. During vacations and at least 2 weeks after, it is shown that a person’s overall well-being is enhanced, allowing for a good night’s rest which means longer and better sleep.

Vacations make you happy (even during the planning)

It’s impossible to be unhappy during your vacation, the one that you planned and spent money on. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a hard-earned vacation, right?

But did you know that even just thinking about an upcoming vacation triggers a major boost to your happiness? From up to eight weeks before the actual vacation, a study shows that planning the vacation alone can uplift your mood and increase your happiness.

This, on top of the pleasure we gain during and after the trip, can improve our overall happiness regardless of how long the vacation is. Therefore, it might be a better choice to have two or more short breaks throughout the year than just a single longer vacation once a year.

Vacations increase productivity

Melissa McAllister

If you are still not convinced that both short and long vacations can improve your well-being, then this last reason might make you look for your next vacation spot.

A well-planned and relaxed vacation can help increase your productivity at work. As shown in an internal research study by Ernst & Young, employees in the United States and Canada who use more vacation days than the average employee tend to have better year-end performance reviews.

If you’re struggling with productivity, then you might want to use those paid vacation days as soon as possible!

Enough is enough! Plan that Vacation!

The next time you feel the urge to take a vacation, skip the guilt, notify your boss, and plan ahead. Taking a break from work is never wasted time so make sure to fully disengage from calls and emails to create the best experience out of it.

If you want to reduce stress, improve sleep quality, boost happiness, and increase productivity, the secret (well, not a secret anymore) is to exhaust your paid time off.

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