Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of the work week imagining that you were on the beach drinking a tropical cocktail watching the sunset and reluctantly had to slap yourself back to reality? Maybe you remember a time when you were overworked, and felt you could no longer function, but you couldn’t afford a break with the lack of time in a workday; it would have been unrealistic to give up on that project, right? Sometimes even on vacation you bring your laptop so that you don’t miss any work, perhaps spending a little too much free time on the computer, much to the dismay of your vacation mates.
This data-backed information should convince you that it’s time to take that long-desired BREAK with no thoughts of the work you left behind, no peeking at emails and no deadline concerns. Just enjoy the moment, because science proves it’s good for you!
Here are 10 scientific reasons why you should book your next vacation ASAP
1. Quality time with family – You get to see your family at home all the time, but how often do you really talk to your loved ones? Life tends to happen right in the middle of our relationships; you just pass by each other as you rush to start your day. Research shows that spending quality time (like the kind of time you get to spend while on vacation) with loved ones is good for your overall health. According to a University of Ulster study, spending time with your family can improve your happiness, which has a direct effect on your health. Relive those moments when you were young paddling in the beach, or the last time you The study shows that even after the vacation, your health is affected. Reliving those treasured family vacation memories during weeks of office stress lessens the negative impact on your body.
2. Getting away from your everyday stressors – A Canadian study of 900 lawyers found that taking vacations helped alleviate daily stress. The study concluded that the bigger your role in a company the more exhausted you become in an attempt to meet office expectations, which eventually has an impact on your mental health, and heart health. From the study, the American Psychological Association concluded that vacations work to reduce stress by removing people from daily activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety.
3. Rest and relaxation – Your body may have given you all the signals to take a break, but you ignore it assuming the signs will eventually disappear. You push on until one day everything catches up with you, and boom! You’re sick. According to The Energy Project, in a New York Times op-ed Sailthru, a company that gives employees significant vacation breaks on the belief in restoration is rooted in our physiology. Another study by researchers at Florida State University found that among a group of athletes and musicians, the best performers are those who practice within 90-min intervals, taking brief breaks in between. Many body builders lift weights with the same concept in mind: give your muscles a break and they can lift heavier and with more repetitions. Don’t stop, just learn to take a rest when needed.
4. Time for reflection – When you allow your brain to wander and day dream, it allows you to be more creative and be able to face and solve your problems. When you are task-focused, you tend to overwork your brain to stay engaged in a project you want to finish, but taking a break is necessary because the brain works in 2 levels, one is a task-focused level, the other is a day-dreaming level. Because of this when you are on information overload it’s important to take time to let go. Daniel J. Levitin, the director of the Laboratory for Music, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University and the author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload,told the New York Times, that taking time for our brain to wind down, provides us with our moments of greatest creativity and insight.
5. New experiences– A study published in the US National Library of Medicine concludes that multicultural experiences help foster creativity and help generate ideas. There’s a big world out there to explore, and it’s healthy to take a break to broaden your horizons. Take that leap, explore where you’ve never before gone!
6. Fun and excitement – A study done at Erasmus University in Rotterdam found that among 1,500 Dutch adults, in which 974 of them took a vacation, those who took the time off boosted with fun activities, returned home much happier and showed signs of slightly increased happiness for the weeks that followed.
7. Enjoying sports and activities – A host of studies have highlighted the cardiovascular health benefits of taking a vacation. In one, men at risk for heart disease who skipped vacations for five consecutive years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least a week off each year. Exercise also stimulates the production of new blood vessels. As we make more blood vessels, there are more places for blood to flow, which results in more efficient circulation. Vacation is not only a time to relax, but a time to engage in sports and to be active.
8. Better communication with your spouse– Recent research indicates that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting his or her own ideas.” ― Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate is perfect to read before a vacation. While on vacation, it seems you have all the time in the world, patience is stretched and it’s the perfect time to communicate. This time off gives a significant moment for you and your spouse to take time to actually listen to and hear each other.
9. Building memories– Years from now, you could open an album, or a video of your vacation and relive the wonderful memories again. These are moments that are worth passing on to your children and grandchildren. On case studies Researchers from San Francisco State University found out that life experiences- not things-make a person happier. Children are most likely to remember experiences from their childhoods.
10. Extend your life – While this is a no-brainer, most people still don’t understand the importance of taking a break. The Global Commission on Aging, U.S. Travel Association and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies polled a number of seniors and discovered that traveling – particularly for older adults – prevents cognitive impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. So for that Fountain of Youth and to live a longer life, book that vacation, and don’t wait too long. The closer your vacation, the more reachable your happiness.