It may be hard for you to step away from your busy schedule. Often, taking time off of work is reserved for emergencies or sick days. However, most jobs do offer vacation days-even if most Americans are not typically inclined to take them. Taking a vacation can have big benefits, aside from getting paid to not be at work. Time off can be essential to your physical and mental well-being as well as social interactions and even work productivity. So, the next time you are feeling stressed, you may want to consider the benefits of taking time off and schedule yourself a vacation, even if it is just a one day trip to a nearby city or an extra day away at the end of a busy business trip to see the sights. You don’t even need to take a long vacation, you can now take a few hours to yourself and relax in the calm space of an upscale hotel. Here are 5 proven health benefits of taking a vacation…
It improves physical health
If you’re feeling a bit sluggish, tired, and worn down, or even having bigger problems, like trouble digesting and difficulty sleeping, the problem may be the stress of your daily routine. Taking a break could help to reset your relaxation mode and remind your body how to relax and function properly. Everything from relaxing your muscles a bit to reducing your risk of coronary disease and heart attacks can be aided by simply taking a day or two off of work, explains Forbes Magazine. People who take a vacation every two years, as opposed to the average of every six years, have a lower risk of heart disease.
It stabilizes mental health
Do you feel at your best when you’re tired? Probably not. Most people get irritable and even depressed when tired, stressed, and overworked. These mental symptoms can have an effect on your sharpness, you memory, and even your resistance to illnesses. Psychology Today notes that a growing body of evidence provided by interdisciplinary psychological, sociological, and biological studies show that taking breaks from the pressures of your everyday routine to relax and do something you enjoy can significantly improve mental and physical health. You don’t even have to take a long two week trip to Hawaii to reap the benefits; Psychology Today suggests that you can positively improve your mental health by playing a game of golf now and then or taking a day trip for a special event. When your mind is relaxed, you can function effectively.
It enhances social interactions
Spending time with family and friends for a break from your daily routine can have a good effect on your mood, physical relaxation, and even your ability to communicate with the world around you. Communication may not be the first thought on your mind when you think of taking a vacation, but Psychology Today explains that by going to a new place, seeing new sights, and talking with people who are not in your everyday circle helps to broaden your horizons, making it easier for you to make connections with others.
They note that families that take vacations together are happier and function better than those that do not take advantage of vacation days to spend time together. Because decent communication is necessary to function in society, at work, and at home, improving your communication with others can improve every aspect of life.
It increases productivity
What are the first things you think of when someone suggests that you take a vacation? Odds are, the first two things that come to mind are: “I can’t trust anyone to do my work for me while I’m gone.” And, “I can’t go on vacation because I’ll have too much work to catch up on when I return.” But did you know that studies show taking a vacation actually increases people’s productivity at work? That’s right, taking time off can help you get more done at work, according to the New York Times. Think about it, when you are tired and overworked everything suffers.
Your work has more typos, you don’t pay as close of attention at meetings, and you might even have trouble remembering to return emails and phone calls. The distractions of fatigue and stress can take a toll on both your productivity and the quality of your work. Taking time to relieve some stress and sleep in for a day can help sharpen your skills so you can put your best foot forward in the future.
For busy executives that don’t have time to take a week off, taking a half day micro-vacation is an option. Take a half-day and relax in style by the hotel pool for a while. You’d be amazed what a four-hour luxury break can do for your mood and mental state.
Whether it’s a day off or two weeks away from the daily routine, taking a vacation can vastly improve your overall health. Stress and fatigue negatively affect everything from your memory and mood to muscle function, digestion, and immune system. Physical relaxation can help to adjust your sleep cycle, loosen muscles, and even reduce your risk of a heart attack. In addition, spending time in new place with friends, family or even a set of strangers can improve your communication skills and broaden your horizons. Stepping away from your e-mail, paperwork, and daily routine can even improve your productivity when you return as your mind and body will be relaxed. So, if you feel like you’re not at the top of your game, take time away to relax and reboot.