“The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and all the memories we’ve made along the way.” – Unknown
Despite an overwhelming work and stress load and a desire for improved work-life balance, many professionals are skipping vacation. Of course, there are various reasons for saying no, or at least not now, to vacation, but two of the top ones are:
- Fear of missing out on a promotion
- Fear of falling behind at work
Taking a vacation, however, is essential to our long-term health. Studies reveal that taking a break impacts our physical, mental, and emotional health. Vacations also improve our outlook on life and increase our motivation to achieve goals.
Before we go further, let’s define ‘vacation.’ It is not time to merely do your work in a different or more exotic location. Sure, there are appropriate times to integrate work and travel, but vacation is time dedicated to fun and relaxation. It’s time spent with family and friends, or if we need it, completely alone. It’s meant for restoration and renewal.
Note: A trip to some delightful seas side resort or cabin in the mountains can be incredible, but even a staycation – that still says NO to work, and includes enjoying activities with loved ones, can be a true vacation.
According to medical experts and various studies, taking vacation as described above can:
- Increased well-being: A Gallup study indicated that people who consistently take vacation scored an average of 68.4 on the Gallup-Heathway’s Well-Being Index compared to 51.4 for less frequent travelers. Note that the ones scoring 51.4 were still participating in some travel. Furthermore, vacations reduce stress, increase a sense of calm, and boost happiness, encouraging greater mindfulness and mental health healing.
- Improves our physical health: Regular vacations lessen the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks – especially in men. It also enhances the quality of our sleep which, in turn, improves our overall health.
- Sharpens our mental skills: Downtime away from the job boosts our memory and sharpens our cognitive skills, creativity, and job performance upon return. As a result, professionals returning from vacation have increased motivation, brain power, productivity, inspiration, and general work enjoyment.
- Better relationships: People who take vacation report greater satisfaction in their relationships with family and friends.
The bottom line here is that taking a vacation – enjoying a complete escape from work recharges your life, improving your physical, emotional, and mental health. As Eric M. Bailey, president of Bailey Strategic Innovation Group, points out, “So many things are changing around us, and much of our world is uncertain. Our brains carry a higher cognitive load as we try to make sense of our environment. Quite simply, taking vacation time is essential to our long-term health.”
Take a vacation –your mind, body, and the important people in your life will thank you.