If you’re like most people, you probably take vacations at least once a year and enjoy every minute of them. However, taking time off from work isn’t always seen as good for your health, even if it increases your overall happiness and well-being in the long run. While it may seem like vacationing does little more than give you a fun-filled escape from your everyday life, it has some surprising health benefits that are often overlooked by those who don’t regularly take vacations. Read on to find out how vacationing can be good for your health!
1) Recharging Helps
All work and no play can lead to burnout, which we’ve all experienced. But regularly taking time off from work is important not just for physical health, but for mental health too. A study published in The Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that those who took vacations felt more refreshed than those who didn’t. It’s no surprise that feeling stressed makes you more likely to get sick, and feeling refreshed makes you less susceptible to illness. Plus, being present in your daily life also reduces stress—so if you’re feeling out of sorts while on vacation (or traveling frequently), then it’s likely affecting your productivity at work. If your job is high-stress and doesn’t give you time off, it might be worth considering another career path altogether!
2) Take A Deep Breath
We’re so fixated on the to-do lists that we rarely stop to appreciate, or even notice, what’s around us. As a result, people often take a stuffy atmosphere and gray skies for granted. But a change of scenery has enormous health benefits. Studies show that vacations give you more energy, make you healthier, and can even help prevent depression. And more time outdoors also makes you smarter—longer exposure to natural light helps slow cognitive decline in older adults. The next time someone asks why you’re taking so long on vacation, look them straight in the eye and say because it’s good for your health. (The shock alone will be worth it.)
3) Go For A Walk
There are few better ways to lose weight and feel good than to get out in nature. It’s not only a great stress reliever, but it also provides you with some much-needed vitamin D (in just 20 minutes of sunlight exposure), improves your breathing and heart health, decreases anxiety, boosts your mood, increases endorphins, and just generally makes you feel better—both mentally and physically. So next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious or down, consider scheduling some time to get outdoors. You won’t regret it!
4) Get Outdoors
Staying active on vacation can be a challenge, but it’s important to stay engaged with your surroundings. It’s hard to relax when you spend your time indoors—especially if you’re not familiar with the area. If you have little ones in tow, renting a cabin or staying at a hotel that has a pool are good ways to get outside without too much hassle. And, depending on where you go, there are likely plenty of hiking trails and other activities that will keep your body moving while still being fun! Even if all you do is sit by a lake fishing or throw together an impromptu volleyball game, just getting out in nature can be good for your mental health.
5) Exercise Makes Us Happy
When it comes to vacations, exercise makes us happy. Most of us know that feeling of looking forward to a trip because we’ll be away from our usual routine, enjoying new activities and exploring new places. But did you know that exercise plays a role in vacation happiness? It’s true: exercising on vacation is beneficial for your health and can help relieve stress during times when most people are stressed out from being stuck in their routine at home or work. You don’t have to become a workout addict but one or two workouts while on vacation can go a long way toward improving your overall mood and energy level.
6) Unplug to Relieve Stress
Technology is a blessing and a curse. It enables us to connect in new ways but has also meant that we’re all a lot more available at all times. Technology isn’t going anywhere soon, but if you want to minimize stress, sometimes it helps to turn it off. Unplugging can be as simple as leaving your phone at home for an afternoon or even just turning off your cell phone ring during dinner. When you have time away from work and digital distraction, you’ll free up space in your brain that’s normally reserved for remembering work tasks and errands, leaving room to be more fully present when you’re with friends and family. Think of it as staying present-minded while your phone takes a well-deserved vacation of its own!
7) Relax To Prevent Disease
Relaxation is an important component of your overall health. When you are tense and your muscles are tight, it limits blood flow and breathing. To prevent disease, take some time each day to relax. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults spend at least seven hours a week in some form of moderate physical activity like walking or hiking. It also suggests getting 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week and completing strength training exercises twice a week. Whatever activity you choose, be sure to schedule a time to unwind so that your body can rest and repair itself from daily wear and tear.
8) Unwind To Sleep Better at Night
A vacation can help you unwind, which can in turn help improve your sleep. When you’re on vacation, there’s less pressure to get things done and take care of responsibilities. All that extra time off can mean more opportunities to nap during daylight hours—or just sleep better at night—which will improve your energy levels. You may even notice a reduction in stress-related symptoms like headaches or stomachaches. This is also true during vacations closer to home: Some evidence suggests that if you take a few days off each month and regularly practice stress-reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature while home on weekends, you’ll be less likely to experience stress-related symptoms throughout your workweek.
9) Slow Down To Improve Memory
Research has found that slowing down improves memory, creativity, and more. By taking time to allow your brain to process new information and experiences, you can help slow down memory loss later in life. If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, being able to get things done quickly is important—but it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your overall health to achieve your goals. Taking a vacation from time to time can help combat stress, improve memory and keep your mind sharp as you continue working toward reaching your next goal. Plus, taking breaks is essential if you want a healthy work-life balance. Our bodies aren’t designed to run at full speed without any rest—so don’t do it!
10) Reconnect With Friends and Family
It can be easy to get caught up in our work and forget that those we love need attention too. After a long, hard day of working or studying, there’s no better feeling than relaxing with a beer on your porch with your best friends. Don’t let your health suffer from neglect—everybody needs some quality time from time to time! Make sure you take advantage of these moments while they last; after all, we don’t live forever.