How That Much-Needed Vacation Will Improve Your Mental Health // Guest - Henry Moore, Co-Creator of FitWellTraveler
If I go on vacation, I’ll just come back to a mountain of paperwork; it isn’t worth it. Nobody can do my job like me, how could I possibly delegate? I want to prove I’m a dedicated employee. Job security? What’s that? Perhaps one or even a few of these thoughts are the reasons why you’re joining more than half of Americans who left vacation days unused last year.
Believe it or not, it turns out there are plenty of reasons that make this a rather poor decision, and not just for you and your mental health, but for your employer, too.
Less Stress and Depression
A study at the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Center found that taking vacations contributed to increased positive emotional levels and decreased incidences of depression. Other health benefits reported in the study included lower blood pressures and smaller waistlines.
Poor Productivity and Health
Over 50 percent of Americans are working more than 50 hours a week. These employees are scientifically proven to be not only less productive, but they’re also at risk for serious health consequences. Traveling allows you to counteract these issues and gives you the proper time to recharge. One way your body re-energizes is by catching up on your sleep and sleep deprivation affects your cognitive abilities. All of which can help improve your home and work life.
Change of Scenery
Oftentimes our day-to-day life becomes routine and repetitive. We engage in the same habits, some good and some bad. For those in addiction recovery, traveling and seeing new scenery can break up old patterns and provide new context. It disrupts your mind’s usual response to repetitive behaviors and makes it easier for you to maintain your sobriety. And don’t just consider an annual vacation, weekend getaways are great, too, as traveling and reflecting can boost your healing
By now, you’re seeing that passing on a vacation isn’t such a good idea. With pounds on the scale to consider, a nervous breakdown looming, and more of the same routine, you’re practically packing your bags, right?
Now you’re on board, so it’s time to figure out how you can make the most of it.
Make Sure To Prepare
If you don’t take the time to prepare, you’ll be turning your time off into another Griswold vacation movie, and it might not have the usual happy ending. Preparation should include careful consideration of your destination. Unless you absolutely love the hustle and bustle of city adventures, opt for a more peaceful or secluded spot where you can kick back and enjoy your life on island time.
Avoid Over Scheduling
The last thing you want is to return from your vacation feeling like you need a vacation. This can be the consequence when your over-book your activities or over-plan. Allow for ample free time in your schedule to fulfill the reason for your trip: relaxation.
You’ve packed the sunscreen. You’ve packed the tour guidebook. You’ve even packed your favorite clothes for a special night out. But don’t pack your work. Take the time away to disconnect from work activities. Ideally, your plan to be away from work will include delegating, speaking to your boss, and informing clients you’ll be gone.
Try New Things
This is a great time to drop your routines and try new things. Traveling should be about personal growth, you won’t just be making the trip to see and do, but to experience and learn. Find ways to tap into the experience in ways you haven’t before.
We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. Taking that much-needed vacation will enhance your creativity, improve your sleep cycle, boost your mood, reduce your risk for heart disease, and prevent the dreaded burnout. So before conjuring up another excuse to sit dutifully at your desk, instead, close your eyes and imagine the sound of that waterfall, the sound of those chirping birds and the sweet smell of the fresh clean air. Now, it’s time to get packing!
About Henry Moore:
Henry is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. He believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you. He combines both in his work on FitWellTraveler.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Sparrow Health & Performance, LLC. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.