As the adage goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Taking a break to go on a vacation can be the best way to balance work and life. Relaxation and rest is as important as good food and exercise for a healthy life. Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing something new challenges both body and mind. No matter the duration of the holiday–short, long, a weekend, or only a day–you’ll get back to work feeling more refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated.
Here are 7 reasons why you need to take a break from work and go on a vacation:
1. To reduce stress and the risk of stress-related diseases.
Neuroscientists have found that brain structure is badly impacted by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol. Studies by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Center show that time away from work helps to relieve stress and prevent and mitigate diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, anxiety and depression. By teaching you to savor the moment in real time-taking in new sights, sounds and smell-traveling makes you more mindful. Therefore vacations improve both physical and mental health.
2. For greater well-being after the vacation.
According to a Gallup study, people who make time for regular trips had a 68.4 score on the Gallup-Heathway’s Well-Being Index, in comparison to a 51.4 Well-Being score for less frequent travellers. Gains accrued during vacations, such as lesser physical complaints and better quality of sleep and mood continue after the vacation is over too – even until five weeks later. Also, once you’re back home, taking time to reflect on the experience, looking back at the photos and recalling your favorite moments help to prolong the beneficial effects of your travel.
3. To improve work productivity.
Taking a break from work and the inevitable work-related stresses can help to prevent burnout by recharging brain cells. This improves mental faculties such as memory, focus, clarity, creativity and concentration. Better brain functioning can help in the brainstorming of new ideas. Returning from the vacation energized and optimistic helps to better deal with work challenges and project roadblocks. Experiencing new cultures and different ways of doing and living on a vacation can help to develop fresh perspectives and an openness to new possibilities and multiple solutions. For people in creative fields, a vacation can provide sources of inspiration and stimulate their imagination. Meeting new people and discovering shared connections can help in networking, building contacts and expanding your business/professional life horizons.
4. To better your relationships.
Man is a social animal and relationships best flourish in a relaxed stress-free setting like a vacation. Traveling together is the best way to learn about each other, to bond and to build a relationship. Investing in time spent together can improve relationships with family, friends, spouse, parents, children, siblings, partners, roommates, etc. A solo vacation can help to better your relationship with yourself by providing time for self-reflection and appreciation. You could also meet new and interesting people and create relationships that enhance either your personal or professional life.
5. To be happier now by just planning the vacation.
Research shows that planning the vacation will in itself make you happier today as you are anticipating and looking forward to the excitement of the scheduled break. A person can feel positive and happy for many weeks before the actual trip begins. As you plan and prepare for something that you look forward to, your daily job gets easier and seems worthwhile since it is paying for your vacation.
6. To achieve the goal of life-long learning and growth.
Only absorbing and recording work information is not complete learning. To use this information effectively the brain also needs time off to process it and make meaningful connections with other learnings. This makes taking vacations and breaks very important. People often get their best insights and most creative ideas while on vacation. Besides serving as an unstructured education, a holiday can also give you time to read a new business book, an opportunity to enroll for a course or workshop to update your skills, etc. You can explore new interests and hobbies such as rock climbing, whitewater rafting, horse riding, photography, etc. Travelling is not just about brag-worthy Instagram photos and collecting souvenirs but about gaining experiences and stories which will live on.
7. A staycation can help you eat your cake and have it too.
A staycation is a vacation spent at home or nearby within a day trip distance of your home in your own country, rather than abroad. It reduces time, energy, stress and money spent on planning and preparation (booking flights and hotels), traveling, packing/unpacking and jet lag. Due to Corona and restrictions on international travel, a staycation can especially be a good option. One can fully relax, enjoy leisure activities such as visiting local attractions, cafes, restaurants, bars, historical buildings, nature parks, etc. You could hike, trek, picnic, play with pets, read a book, listen to music, or simply close your eyes and enjoy a feeling of inner peace and quiet. Requiring little to no preparation, a staycation presents a win-win situation and can be the ideal way to restore and revitalise your mind, body and spirit.
The best way to maximise the benefits of vacationing would be to spread the vacation experience twice or thrice in a year rather than taking one big vacation. This means a minimum impact on your work and maximum help to you. So make no more excuses and get set for your next holiday.