Vacation is one of the most productive things we can do for ourselves. Rest is amazing for us, and necessary for our health. Doubly so in America, where we have a reputation for workaholism, to the point the Center for Economic and Policy Research has labeled us the “No Vacation Nation”. A recent World Health Organization study even found that 745,000 people died in 2016 as a result of heart disease and stroke, which the study was able to directly relate to a lack of rest and recovery time.
Above and beyond preventing negative effects of chronic fatigue, however, taking a break has benefits, both mental and physical.
These benefits include:
- Regular vacations could help reduce the risk for metabolic syndrome by providing time to reset biological rhythms. Metabolic syndrome is a set of health issues that includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess belly fat and abnormal cholesterol levels, as well as an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- One nine-year study by the NIH followed more than 12,000 middle-aged men at high risk for heart disease. The study found those who took more yearly vacations were less likely to die from any cause.
- Vacation is associated with higher levels of personal well-being, as well as increased mindfulness.
- According to Professor Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, traveling breaks our normal routine, which helps us be more present in general.
Vacations don’t just benefit employees, either! The increased health provides greater energy stores and focus for employees in their day to day job, increasing their productivity for your business if you’re a business owner or manager. Good leave policies also increase job satisfaction and retention.
If you’re convinced and ready to relax, it is helpful to know that there are best practices when it comes to taking a vacation. Here are three critical tips for getting the most out of your vacation, ensuring it is as nourishing and restoring as needed:
- Make sure to rest! Don’t pack in too many activities, as scheduling downtime is one of the best ways to restore energy.
- Detach completely from work. Give yourself the space you need to leave work behind until you return to it, especially limiting work-related calls and emails.
- Be where you are. Being mindful of where you are and what you’re enjoying will help rewire your brain and restore your energy. By breaking usual day-to-day habits and thought patterns, you are able to clear out stress hormones, and rebuild stores of important chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
Rosie’s Creative advocates for all employees to receive their due, in all possible compensation. Being able to take personal time for recuperation is not only a favor to employees, but necessary for their health, and beneficial for the success of any business.