5 Reasons Why You Should Go On A Vacation This Holiday!

You may be planning to take your annual vacation soon and visit your family for the upcoming holidays, or you may be scheduled to celebrate a milestone with a big trip — a skying tour in the mountains or even a beach getaway. You may also be thinking of skipping vacation altogether this year. Given that productivity has been hampered for many of us over the last few months, it’s easy to say “I should keep working, so I can get more done” or “What’s the point? I can’t really go anywhere.”

Well before you go ahead and shorten, postpone, or cancel your getaway for this holiday season, think again!

Research has shown that taking time away from your job can have huge physical and mental health benefits. Here are five reasons to start planning for a getaway this holiday season.

1. Reducing stress

You can file this under “duh” but the fact is stress is linked to many illnesses from heart disease, obesity, and diabetes to depression, anxiety, and accelerated aging. A study released by the American Psychological Association showed that time off helps to reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments that they associate with anxiety. Another study showed that spending at least 120 minutes a week in a natural environment such as parks or beaches improves genera; health and wellbeing!

2. Increasing mindfulness

Going on holiday breaks your normal routine which means you can’t operate on autopilot. This makes you feel more present and stimulated. According to a research study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, meditation and vacations appear to have overlapping effects.  

3. Preventing heart disease 

Researchers who have studied the work habits of more than 600,000 people in the US, UK, and Australia found that people who work more than 55 hours a week are 33% more likely to suffer a stroke and have a 13% greater risk of heart attack than those who work 35-40 hours weekly. Similarly, the Framingham Heart Study – the longest-running study of cardiovascular disease – found that women who waited six years between vacations were eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack versus women who vacationed twice a year.

Taking regular time off was also shown to reduce the risk for metabolic syndrome—a cluster of health issues including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess belly fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels – which are all symptoms that raise the risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

4. Boosting brain power

You always get your best ideas when you’re on a walk, in the shower, or on vacation, right? That is because breaking routine increases cognitive flexibility, creativity, and the ability of the brain to consolidate knowledge as shown by multiple studies.

5. Improving sleep

Researchers found that after two to three days of vacation, participants in the study averaged an hour more of good quality sleep and experienced an 80% improvement in their reaction times to stimuli. When they returned home, they were still sleeping close to an hour more, and their reaction time was still 30% to 40% higher than before the trip.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t be a vacation slacker! Put your guilt aside and enjoy this holiday season. Your body and mind will thank you.