Vacations are all about recharging your batteries. Take time for yourself and you’ll reap a wide array of benefits. Studies show people who take vacations have increased productivity, stronger morale in the workplace, greater satisfaction at work and are more likely to stay at their job.
Still not convinced? One study published by the American Medical Association found men who took frequent annual vacations were 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease than those who skipped their vacations.
Another article published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal found women in that state who took vacations more frequently were less likely to be tense, depressed or tired _ and they were more satisfied with their marriage. The study even found that the personal psychological benefits of taking a vacation led to an increased quality of life and improved work performance.
For families, the benefits are multiplied. “Families who vacation together undergo shared experience, communication and togetherness, escape and relaxation and experiential learning, all which contribute positively to well being and to relationships,” according to a study published in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism.
Americans average about 13 vacation days a year, while our European counterparts average 24 vacation days annually. Yet only 25 percent of Americans took all of their paid vacation days last year, according to Forbes, and 61 percent say they continue to work on vacation. Forty-two percent don’t take a vacation at all.
Taking at least one vacation annually has been shown to positively impact your health, prevent depression, and provide more satisfaction in marriages as well as having a positive effect on your well being and family relationships.
Taking a vacation does not mean you have to spend a lot of money. A practice growing in popularity is taking a “staycation.” This is a vacation based from home, rather than traveling to another location. This twist on the vacation became popular as a way for families to save money, avoid travel, and enjoy what is available in their own area.
Vacation means, NO WORK! This includes making work calls or checking e-mails while on vacation. In order to reap the benefits of the downtime that vacation provides, you need to turn work off, and engage fully in the practice of “play” with your kids, your spouse, your family and your friends.
Popular theory is that it takes four days to “turn off” work mode and fully engage in “vacation mode.” Though the relaxing feeling of vacation quickly dissipates when we go back to work, the thinking is that the effects of the frequent vacation work much like adequate sleep; the more you get, the better you feel.
If you have vacation time, USE IT!! We all need time to rest and relax and take our mind off the daily grind for a little while. Studies show so many benefits, not to mention the value of reconnecting with family and friends. Life is busy. We have to slow down once in a while to make sure we enjoy the journey.
To quote the famous Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”