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3 Reasons Vacations are Good for Your Health

YOU NEED A VACATION!

Why am I shouting that out? Because the effects of not taking a vacation can be detrimental to your health and your productivity. Remember my personal story about burnout?  

Through the years I’ve noticed that my patients who take two vacations a year heal faster, feel better about themselves and are happier. Unfortunately, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to take time off. Yep, this used to be me. I was one of the 26% of self employed Americans that do not take vacations. So why am I taking vacations now? Because I know that vacations are good for my health, and because I save up for them through the year so I can pay my bills when I get back, and I am happier!  Those that are lucky to have a job with vacation pay, however, are still not taking a vacation.  

A Vacation Could Help you get a Raise

A survey done by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association says there are no benefits to missing a vacation not even a pay raise:

If you think sacrificing time off now is going to pay off in the long-term, think again. The study found that people who had between 11 and 15 days of unused vacation days were 6.5% less likely to get a raise or a bonus than those who took all their paid time off.

Less likely to get a raise because you didn’t take a vacation? It makes sense to me. Brain cells need rest, but they also need new stimulation. A vacation does both. 

Seeing something new allows one to feel like a child again. Exploring a new city, park, mountain, or beach stimulates the brain and triggers the imagination. Think of your brain cells tasting new delicious foods, smelling fresh mountain air or a salty ocean breeze. This fosters creativity so when you go back to work you have amazing new ideas, energized and therefore more apt to get a raise or a bonus.

It’s not a vacation if you bring work with you.

The company Glassdoor did a survey that showed:

The average American employee only takes half of their vacation time, and when employees do take paid time off, 61% admit working.

The survey also mentioned three out of five people admitted to working during vacation. It’s not a true vacation if you’re bringing your laptop to sneak in work time. Unplugging from work, your phone, and the digital world literally prepares you to get back to your job or business with more energy, creativity, and enthusiasm. A happy rested employee is more productive than one that is fizzling out. Remember… a vacation is only good for your health if it is a true vacation.

Can Work Be An Addiction?

If you feel you may be a workaholic or work addict I recommend the youtube audio with Alanis Morissette interviewing Dr. Bryan E. Robinson. They uncover the possible origin of work addiction to childhood and introduce the word “brownout” which is similar to an alcoholic blackout. 

So what’s the health data on vacations?

My Top 3 Reasons Vacations are Good for your Health

1. A Vacation Decreases Heart Disease

Studies have found that women who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop heart disease, have a heart attack, or die of a coronary-related cause than those who took at least two vacations a year. According to a study by the State University of New York at Oswego, after surveying 12,000 men it was discovered that men who go on vacation reduce their overall risk of soon death by 20 percent

2. A Vacation Decreases Depression

A study done by Marshfield Clinic of 1,500 women found that those who took a vacation once every two years were more likely to suffer from depression and increased stress than women who took vacations at least twice a year. Also, a survey by the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind Body Center in which 1,400 individuals participated in, found that leisure activities including taking vacations, contributed to higher positive emotional levels and less depression.

3. A Vacation Increases Productivity at Work.

A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that high-level professionals who were required to take time off were significantly more productive overall than those who spent more time working. The U.S. ranks third in the most productive countries. Germany and France are ranked above the US. and they receive more than 30 days of paid vacation. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Employees in countries that take more vacation do have a strong desire to get a lot done as well as a tendency to move faster”.

Vacation Bonus

The added benefit of taking a vacation is the pre-trip high. The actual time preparing for a vacation can change your bodies chemical composition as you visualize yourself already on vacation. The happy anticipation. The mind does not know the difference between being there and just imagining that you have already arrived. It only works if you are actually going. It also works after you have returned from your vacation as you focus on the memories.

I leave you with this quote from The Harvard Business Review article, “The Data-Driven Case for Vacation”.

Statistically, taking more vacation results in greater success at work as well as lower stress and more happiness at work and home.

It’s vacation time!   Subscribe to my monthly newsletter to receive a link to Alanis Moristette’s interview with Dr. Robinson on Work addiction.

With love and health (Con amor y salud),


Jackie

This blog has been written with love. If it has been of value to you, please share it with all your friends. I am grateful for new subscribers. ❤️ 

Jackie Castro-Cooper, MPT

I hold a Masters in Physical Therapy and specialize in John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release. My passion is helping patients discover their own path to healing through integrative and holistic therapies.