1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

The Importance of Vacations, for Stress Relief, Productivity and Health

Vacations Are Important For More Than Just Fun...

By

Updated July 15, 2011

The Importance of Vacations, for Stress Relief, Productivity and Health

Vacations Can Soothe The Soul, and Help with Productivity, Health and More! ©iStockphoto.com

Photo from iStockPhoto.com
Many people don’t take vacations often enough. In fact, according to a poll on this site, around half of readers don't take annual vacations; in fact, many readers never take them! And now with increasing frequency, when we do take vacations, we often bring work along with us, keeping ourselves essentially still in the work mindset we’re trying to escape. This is unfortunate for several reasons:
  • Vacations Promote Creativity: A good vacation can help us to reconnect with ourselves, operating as a vehicle for self-discovery and helping us get back to feeling our best.

  • Vacations Stave Off Burnout: Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts.

  • Vacations Can Keep Us Healthy: Taking regular time off to ‘recharge your batteries’, thereby keeping stress levels lower, can keep you healthier.

  • Vacations Promote Overall Wellbeing: One study found that three days after vacation, subjects' physical complaints, their quality of sleep and mood had improved as compared to before vacation. These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacations.

  • Vacations Can Strengthen Bonds: Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong, helping you enjoy the good times more and helping you through the stress of the hard times. In fact, a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.

  • Vacations Can Help With Your Job Performance: As the authors of the above study suggest, the psychological benefits that come with more frequent vacations lead to increased quality of life, and that can lead to increased quality of work on the job.
  • Vacations Relieve Stress in Lasting Ways: It should come as no surprise that vacations that include plenty of free time bring stress relief, but research shows that a good vacation can lead to the experience of fewer stressful days at least five weeks later! That means that vacations are the gift to yourself that keep on giving.

The bottom line is that taking a good amount of time away from the stresses of daily life can give us the break we need so that we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.

While not everyone is able to take a vacation, for those who can take several days or a few weeks off for a trip, I’ve compiled the following resources from some of About.com’s travel sites. These can help you plan the best type of trip for yourself so you can come back feeling ready for anything. (For those of you who can’t take off enough time for a traditional vacation trip, keep reading; I’ll have resources for you, too.)

For those who don’t have the time or money to take a ‘formal’ vacation, I have an article on quick, cheap vacations that will give you some creative ideas on how to get a nice break and enjoy the benefits of a vacation, for less. And don't forget the options of taking a stay-cation or play-cation, too!

Email This Page To A Friend

Source:
Chikani V, Reding D, Gunderson P, McCarty CA. Vacations Improve Mental Health Among Rural Women: The Wisconsin Rural Women's Health Study. WMJ, August, 2005.
Strauss-Blasche G, Ekmekcioglu C, Marktl W. Does vacation enable recuperation? Changes in well-being associated with time away from work. Occupational Medicine, April 2000.

Related Video
Natural Stress Relief

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.