“All work and no play” is making North Americans very dull. Research shows that Canadian and American employees take the lowest number of vacation days compared to employees in other countries. Many of these employees avoid taking vacation time for fear of losing their job or being passed over for promotions. However, by not taking time away from work, these same employees could be putting themselves at risk for mental or physical illness.
Health benefits of taking time off
Numerous studies show that taking regular vacations is good for our mental and physical health. Below are just a few of the amazing benefits of taking time away from work:
- Lower risk of depression – Researchers at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin found that women who don’t take regular vacations are up to three times more likely to develop depression than women who travel regularly.
- Less stress – Getting away from the grind, even for a short time, lowers stress and makes sleep more restful. According to one New Zealand study, people sleep one hour longer while vacationing than they do at home.
- Lower risk of heart disease – Both men and women lower their risk of a heart attack by vacationing regularly.
- Anti-aging – Skipping vacations can raise cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone released by the body during times of stress that can also speed up the aging process. Taking regular vacations helps you feel and look younger.
- Stronger immune system – Research has shown that taking regular vacations can help your body fight colds and infections. Chronic stress has been found to affect the body at the cellular level and compromise bodily function.
- Emotional well-being –Spending too many hours at work can leave you feeling emotionally depleted. By getting way from the office every now and then, you refresh your mind and avoid mental burnout.
- Increased intelligence – Believe it or not, taking a vacation can make you smarter. The New York Times reported that when the body’s need for downtime is ignored, mental alertness drops. The occasional getaway gives your brain a “reboot.”
- Improved creativity – Vacationing leaves you with a clearer focus and a new outlook. You’ll feel more inspired after disconnecting from your work environment for a little while.
How to take a mini-vacation
If you can’t get a week away from work, try a mini-vacation to lower stress and boost and physical well-being. 10-minute “mental holiday” is still better than taking no break at all. Here are a few simple ways to incorporate more breaks into your workday.
- Just do it. Turn off your computer, step away from your desk, and get some fresh air. You’ll return refreshed and ready to tackle the task at hand.
- Take a drive. Go out for a spin with no destination in mind. Getting “lost” in the country side is a great way to refresh your mind and body. Just remember to use Shear Comfort Ltd.seat covers to protect the interior of your car when trekking through muddy areas.
- Staying connected to the office through email while you’re on vacation isn’t good for your mental health. According to PGi, 82% of employees stay in touch with the office while on vacation. Avoid checking your inbox when you’re away from work.
- Take frequent breaks. You don’t need to spend a week on a tropical island to reap the health benefits of taking time off. Schedule frequent breaks to keep your battery charged.
- Set boundaries. Let your employer you won’t be available by phone or email. If you respond to your employer’s communications when you’re out of the office, your employer will think you’re always available.
Taking time off shouldn’t be seen as a luxury. Regular vacations are part of maintaining a healthy, productive lifestyle. Use the above tips to schedule more breaks into your busy life. Your mind – and body – will thank you for it.
Bill Green is freelance blogger and a Father of 2 girls. He writes about topics that he is passionate about, whether that’s saving money, family time or creating a better work/life balance.
Article Submitted By Community Writer