“Google ‘vacation research’, and you’ll find all sorts of studies about how important time away is for your happiness, stress levels, and job performance,” says Cathy Wunder, Vice President at Global Discovery Vacations, a leading travel club based in Overland Park, Kansas. “We believe you have to disconnect in order to recharge. I see it in my own employees’ performances. When they are given the chance to unwind, they come back with renewed energy and come up with even more ideas to make our members’ vacations better.”
Does this proposition hold water at all? Let’s check by looking into the possible benefits that vacations offer for our personal well-being.
Vacations result in sound physical health because time away from the usual stress factors forces the body to pause and relax. The human body can only take so much continuous work and physical exertion – that’s why it is important to take breaks in between.
The problem with people who have the ‘workaholic’ mindset is that they choose to will their body to work even more than the regular working hours require. Studies show that the body cannot sustain such repeated abuse for long without producing negative results, as it needs rest to recover so that it can work efficiently. As evidenced in research conducted by the University College London and The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, people who work three or more hours longer than the regular seven hour workday have a 60% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Like the body, the mind also needs its rest. Unabated exposure to mental stress brought about by work or domestic concerns will inevitably take its toll on the mind, as evidenced by the findings of a survey conducted by The Mental Health Foundation in the UK. Most of the time, mental stresses are best addressed by stepping back from the problem so that a much clearer perspective can be obtained.
Stepping back may sometimes mean having to physically detach from the problem by going away, even for a short while. Answers to problems are better arrived at with a clearer mind. It can be difficult to recognize a solution that is staring you right in the face if you are involved in it. You’re simply too close.
Pent-up emotions do have a way of wreaking havoc on the body. Sometimes, people are unable to attend to the physical needs of the body when they are emotionally down. Serious emotional stresses tend to fester unless a person physically removes himself or herself from the stress factor(s).
Taking a vacation can work to cut the train of negative emotions that may be overwhelming a person. A new environment gives people more reasons to think of other, happier things rather than concentrating on an existing problem. Sometimes, there may not even be a problem, as emotional issues can often be tracked back to a simple case of boredom or burn-out.
Benefits of Taking a Vacation in Relation to Health and Well-Being
1. As noted above, vacations create abundant opportunities for rest, recreation, and doing nothing – all of which are beneficial for a tired person who wants to have enthusiasm back in his or her life.
2. Vacations minus the stress results in happier and more productive employees. As Cathy Wunder of Global Discovery Vacations mentioned, this is deemed highly beneficial to employers and employees alike.
3. Real health benefits present themselves through lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones, and leaner bodies.
4. Taking a vacation from work gives the perfect opportunity to have necessary health tests done and concentrate on getting well, if necessary. Work – or at least a person’s belief that he or she cannot afford to take time off from work – usually leaves no time to attend to the important matter of taking care of oneself, especially when it comes to making that long overdue doctor’s appointment.
5. As indicated by studies conducted by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, you will live longer when you take proper care of your body and mind. Annual vacations to resort destinations are a highly recommended opportunity to achieve better health, as the team at Global Discover Vacations can attest.
A respected leader in the travel and leisure industry, the Global Discovery Vacations travel club has been instrumental in giving people the opportunity to fully appreciate how vacations can improve one’s mental and physical health alike. If you like the idea of living longer, try being kinder to yourself by taking a much-deserved vacation.