Feeling overwhelmed by work? Have you skipped out on vacation plans this year or the past few years? Taking a vacation is much-needed downtime that your body needs – both mentally and physically, to maintain a happy work and play balance.
Research shows that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. They also take less vacation, work longer days and retire at older ages. But people who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, are happier and have more motivation to achieve goals.
Mental and Physical Benefits
Improved Physical Health: The New York Times reports that taking a vacation every two years will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks. Stress is known to bring on such ailments.
Improved Mental Health: Feelings of calm come with time away from work and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn't if it were still under severe pressure.
Greater Well-Being: One study found that three days after vacation, participants' physical complaints, quality of sleep and mood had improved compared to before vacation. These positives were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacation or downtime.
Decreased burnout: Workers who take regular downtime to relax are less likely to experience burnout. This makes these employees more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts.
Planning: Research shows the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation. A vacation can serve as daily motivation toward something fun and can help keep a positive mindset through difficult obstacles and workplace stress.
The bottom line is, taking time away from work and daily life can improve health, motivation, relationships, job performance and perspective, and give us the break we need to return to our lives, jobs and responsibilities refreshed and better equipped to handle anything.