Improve Your Health and Vacation Time
Summer is upon us and with the sunny season comes visions of beach trips and flights to new places. Before you lose sight of your dream vacation and dismiss the idea as foolish, consider this. Taking your hard-earned vacation time is good for your mental and physical health. From lowered stress, heart disease prevention, improved productivity and better sleep, taking that trip is worth it.
Vacation Lowers Stress Levels
Taking well-deserved time away from the office can lower your stress levels. Elevated stress levels for prolonged periods can wreak havoc on your body. Chronic stress symptoms include irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, and insomnia, according to healthline.com. While your stress reaction is normal, experiencing stress for a prolonged period can lead to a lowered immune system, body pain, headache, higher blood pressure, risk of stroke or heart attack, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and digestive issues.
You can lower your stress levels by taking a vacation! Even a short reprieve from the office can do wonders. “Vacation helps shrink stress and anxiety while boosting the mental and physical health of the entire family,”according to nonprofit healthcare network, Centerstone. Spending time outdoors and soaking up that vitamin D, without constricting schedules can help you to mentally and physically unwind.
Vacation Helps Your Heart
Lowered stress levels can improve your heart health along with vacation time. The large and popular Framingham Heart Studyfollowed 749 middle-aged women for 20 years, finding that a lack of vacations is a predictor of heart attack and death. Another studycame to similar conclusions for middle-aged men finding increased vacations reduced death from any cause.
“In my cardiology practice I saw an increase in heart attack cases in both men and women who took little or no vacation time,” according to Dr. Stephen Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist.
Reduce your chances for heart disease, stroke, and heart attack with regular vacation time. On vacation, you are likely to be more active and spend time outdoors, both contributing to better heart health. Leaving the cares of your work life behind, discovering new places, and participating in activities that you enjoy will boost your cardiac health.
Vacation Helps You Sleep
A study by New Zealand Air found that their 15 participants averaged an hour more of quality sleep while on vacation with 80% improvement in reaction times. It makes sense that vacation time can help your sleep. You don’t have the daily alarm clock to get you up for your morning trip to the office. Hotels are also spending more efforts in creating more comfortable beds and improving the sleep experience.
Get the Most of Your Vacation
A vacation will not automatically improve your health. Take time to plan before your trip to get the most out of your paid time off. Follow our tips below to take full advantage of your vacation!
- Plan your trip during the off season. If possible, take your trip during the slow-season. Overcrowding, long lines, and reduced service quality can have the opposite effect on your health. Save the stress and regret and choose a time to travel when the crowds are at home.
- Choose the option best for your entire group. If you are traveling with kids in tow, consider a destination that caters to children. Instead of trying to navigate unfamiliar territory in a foreign country with tired and stressed kids, choose a location that has amenities and activities your kids will enjoy. Likewise, if you are traveling with older companions or those with physical limitations, consider a destination that is easier for them to navigate. Taking time to plan for a trip that will save work for you and keep your entire crew happy will make your trip much more enjoyable.
- Consider the weather. Don’t forget to research the weather of your desired locale before committing. Bad weather can ruin your trip! From extreme heat or cold, storms, and natural disasters, different seasons can cause different weather. Check before you go!
- Think about what you want to do on your vacation and find a destination to do it! If you want to lay back by the water your entire trip, go to the beach or a lake! If you want to explore and find new areas, choose a new destination that is walking-friendly. Plan a trip around activities that will help you de-stress and relax to get the most out of your trip.
- Your trip doesn’t have to be expensive. Take a stay-cation and look for deals online. Plan a trip in advance to save on airfare and hotels. Overspending for a vacation can cause you stress, and that’s counterproductive! If you opt for a staycation, be sure to leave your work behind. Don’t check your work email or answer calls. Be diligent about taking a break from work to get the full benefits of your vacation time.
Healthy and happy employees are more productive and satisfied at work. Take time to vacation and create a work culture that supports taking full PTO. You will find you and your team are healthier over the long-run and happier at work, reducing turn-over and productivity loss.