For those of us who love to travel, it’s difficult to comprehend why somewhere between 30 and 50 percent of Americans do not use all their vacation days. Studies show that people who take vacations enjoy a multitude of benefits to their well-being.
Taking time away from work is not just fun, but can bring health benefits. It allows the body to replenish and repair itself, according to Karen Matthews of Mind Body Center at the University of Pittsburgh.
Many studies have emphasized that people who take annual vacations had lower blood pressure and were less likely to die from heart disease.
Getting away from work also helps the body to recharge its batteries.
Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and to keep the immune system working. One way to get vitamin D is from moderate exposure to sunlight… and the sun is free! Research also suggests Vitamin D can help prevent prostate, breast and colon cancers, as well as lower the risk for Type II Diabetes.
According to the American Psychological Association, people who take vacations have lower levels of stress. More vacations also contribute to higher positive emotional levels, less depression, and overall outlook on life.
There is also an increase in creativity and innovation. According to Robert Kriegel, author of How to Succeed in Business Without Working So Damn Hard, taking time away from the pressure of dealing with daily crises frees workers to develop their bests ideas. This is particularly true for those in creative fields. According to a survey done by the Vacation Deprivation Study, 34 percent of the respondents reported feeling better about their jobs and more productive after taking a vacation.
Did you know that play is not just for children? Play may be just as important as sleep and a factor in happiness, balance, and success.
And the constructive benefit isn’t just during the time you are away! The actual planning of a trip and the anticipation of good times has added benefits. Even if you only take one vacation a year, when you get back, start doing some research for the next one and enjoy the expectancy of more travel. More anticipation = more happiness.
Women Especially Benefit from Vacations
The Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin did a study and came to an astounding conclusion which was published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal: Women who vacationed less often than once every two years were more likely to suffer from depression and increased stress than women who took vacations at least twice a year.
The a study conducted by the landmark Framingham Heart Study reported that women who took a vacation only once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack compared to women who vacationed at least twice a year.
Another benefit that has been attributed to leisure activities asserts that it helps to maintain a smaller waistline. Do you know of a woman (or man for that matter) who wouldn’t appreciate that benefit? Me either.
Spending leisure time together is a great way to enhance interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. It can be a girlfriend getaway, family fun, romantic interlude or a solo soul-searching retreat.
Trying new activities that take you out of your comfort zone lead to improved self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment different to the accomplishments derived from work.
With careful planning, even those who are budget-conscious can find a way to vacation. With the accessibility to the internet, there are numerous websites and apps that tell you everything from when is the least expensive time to visit a location, what day of the week to book the lowest cost flights, what hotels are offering specials, foodie finds, etc.
So if you feel like you’re hitting the wall, need to refresh and rejuvenate, or want some balance in your life, it’s time to unplug. It’s time for a break. Travel makes you healthier.
Don’t shortchange yourself – start improving your health, happiness and productivity in 2015.
Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition.