Tis the season, kids! At least the tail end of it. When families pile into cars and go to California and then sell the car for day passes to Disneyland. Or Universal, or Magic Mountain, or, if it’s been a tough year, Knotts Berry Farm. For my family growing up, good years were King’s Island and tough years were Lesourdsville Lake. Or maybe you’re visiting a national or state park.
Sleeping under the stars.
You can keep all of that. For me, if there’s not 24 hour room service, I consider it camping.
Yes, I am a snob. Deal with it.
But I digress….
Vacation. Is there a better feeling than leaving the “out of office” memo on your computer & phone?
Knowing that you can forget about bosses and customers and alarm clocks and “ Sorry, I can’t. I’ve gotta work tomorrow”.
It’s a great feeling. Followed closely by “ Oh my God I’ve already spent a day. I’ve only got 6 left” ( or 13, or a month and a half if you’re from Europe.)
But, did you know that vacations actually are good for you?
Kinda like when I found out that chocolate milk was a good recovery drink for runners.
But it’s a fact. Vacations do come with health benefits.
Like what, Bob?
I’m glad you asked. Here in no particular order, are some of the health benefits of vacation;
Vacations Can Cut Your Risk for Heart Attack
Taking an opportunity to de-stress and spend time with loved ones can lower the risk of heart attack by 30 percent for men and a whopping 50 percent for women.
Vacations renew your energy
Studies have shown that vacations restock your energy stores, which makes work seem easier when you do return to the office.
Vacation Adventures Give You a Natural High
Not that “natural high, no. Though I’m sure that figures into many vacations. But when you discover new things or feel like you’re doing something adventurous, your brain gives you a nice little blast of dopamine, the hormone and neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.
Vacations make you happier with your entire Life
The more active you are with your leisure time—and the more control you have over your free time—the more likely you are to be satisfied with your life overall.
Vacation May Help You Live a Longer, Healthier Life
European countries in which workers receive up to 30 days of vacation per year enjoy longer life expectancies and lower health care costs. And they live in Europe. I’m not sure all the bread and butter helps, but damn is it good there.
Vacations Force You to Improve Your Workflow
At least for me, I can’t leave a desk full of stuff to do. Then someone might find out how little I really do. So you actually have to do the stuff you’ve been putting off.
Vacations Can Help the Economy
If Americans took all of the vacation they were entitled to instead of leaving days on the table every year, it would result in an additional 580 million more days of travel per year—a $160 billion boost to the economy. So stop being so selfish, man. Book the cruise.
Vacations actually help you keep calm, medically!
Your brain gets used to not vacationing—and that’s a bad thing. Some neurologists believe that the neural connections that produce feelings of calm become weaker and weaker if they’re not utilized. Over time, this can mean it’s actually harder to get your mind to switch into relaxation mode. I totally get this. Vacay starts on Saturday and it’s Tuesday before I can really just stop and chill. Save your neurons, people.
Vacations improve your family life.
Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong. A study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages. It didn’t specify whether or not they vacationed with their husbands.
And here’s an odd one;
Vacations Can Help Get You a Raise
Research has found that workers who take more vacation time consistently receive better scores on their end-of-the-year performance reviews. The effect isn’t small, either—the boost is nearly 10 percent!
So take the time. Smell the roses. Hit the beach. Reacquaint yourself with your inner fun-seeker.
Call it what you will.
Work-life balance. (I don’t prefer this one because it’s what bosses call it right up to the point where they turn down your vacation request.)
Recharging your batteries.
Whatever works for you.
I call it Joy. Simple, unadulterated joy.
Find your joy, people.