I just got back from spending a week in South Carolina with my wife, her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend. We went to Hilton Head Island and we had a blast. Our days were spent on the beach, by the pool, eating at fancy restaurants, and playing board games. It was an awesome and relaxing week and it felt amazing. I still currently feel really good which is kind of crazy since it was a 14 hour drive to get back home!
Part of me is sad to be back home in PA with the chance of work on Monday at 100%, but the other part of me is ready to get back to the grind and back to reaching for my goals. I have been refreshed by time away from work, and I am ready to yet again tackle the challenges “normal” life is going to throw my way.
Sitting in an office having people throw papers at you is nothing compared to laying out on the beach, but I have reaped the health benefits of taking vacation in full and I have been recharged. How long I might stay recharged is another question entirely, but I know that taking vacation and days off from time to time is absolutely necessary to maintain productivity.
Is it time for your to seriously consider taking a vacation? What are the health benefits of taking a vacation? Do you really need one? the answer is a resounding YES, but keep reading!
The Health Benefits of Taking Vacation
“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” -Robert Orben
1) Taking a break can reduce your stress levels. High stress can lead to multiple different diseases such as heart disease and stroke, and contributes to obesity.
2) Vacations increase your personal productivity in the long run. Continually working a job that you hate at 40 plus hours a week drains on your ability to do a good job.
3) Decrease in depression. Vacation is a time to get away and do something you can enjoy because lets face it, most people are not at jobs that they love. Most of us plug away at jobs that are only somewhat fulfilling and only somewhat gratifying. This is unfortunate, and something else that needs to be changed, but for now it does indeed ring true for most of us.
4) Break away from the insanity that is the American workplace! Over 85% of males work more than 40 hours a week. It is crazy that we continue to push and that we continue to overwork ourselves. Our culture is trending towards an ever more dangerous cliff and the only thing we can do to stop it is to start recognizing the problem. Life is so much more important than work, and hopefully more and more CEOs and company presidents will start realizing this!
5) Find yourself and spend time with your loved ones. Take a vacation to take a deep breath from life and to reinvigorate yourself. Nothing fills me up faster than a few days off, and a full week (or even two!) is a great way to remember why you do what you do.
How To Maximize The Benefits of Vacation
“Chilling out on the bed in your hotel room watching television, while wearing your own pajamas, is sometimes the best part of a vacation.” -Laura Marano
There are two major reasons why I think taking a vacation has major health benefits. It is as simple as reducing stress and increasing sleep. I was carefree while I was away on vacation and was able to live calmly and happily. I slept over 8 hours each night and woke up feeling refreshed and excited to start my day.
To be truthful, I didn’t eat very nutritiously. I ate a lot of high fat and high sugar foods such as donuts, pastries, and bagels with loads of cream cheese. It was nice to take a break from the rigors of eating healthy foods and being constricted to a certain diet. However, I did try my best to add fiber whenever I could by eating apples, pistachios and the highest fiber bagels I could find since I am the Fiber Guardian after all! I definitely didn’t get my required daily amount, but I tried to get it where I could.
It would have been great to see how awesome I would feel now had I eaten well on vacation, but just being away from work and sleeping more was enough. This was extremely surprising to me as I would have expected stomach issues from eating out as often as I did. However, I only had a few times when I felt “blech” and when my stomach was messed up.
To maximize your personal benefits from vacation:
- Sleep a LOT! Get at least 8 hours a night. Take plenty of naps and relax. Give your body the rest it needs to recover from the rigors of normal life.
- Avoid doing any work while on vacation. Don’t answer any emails or phone calls from anyone you work with. Ask that they respect your vacation and leave you alone. If your employees or boss calls you just ignore them. I can pretty much guarantee that it is not life threatening (Unless you are a doctor or Nurse) and that it can wait until you return.
- Try new things and challenge your brain. Challenging yourself with new experiences is a great way to give your brain a much needed boost. Even something like going for a bike ride on the beach (yep we did this!) was a new thing for me and a new experience. It was a blast to dodge frisbees, little kids, and people suntanning. It was even more interesting when we were forced to ride on the beach to find our way to a lighthouse that was blocked off by a gated community. “You can’t go this way!” we were told, but we stuck it to the man by finding a work around!
Final Thoughts on Vacationing For Your Health
The human body is fragile and we are not meant to keep up with the high demands of our current lifestyle. Working 40+ hours a week, eating poorly, sitting all day, and sleeping less than 6 hours per night is going to be our downfall in the long run, but you must do what is necessary to combat it and take a break.
Do you feel like you can’t take a vacation? Do you work for a company that discourages time off and chastises you for any time away? Get out now, while you still can. You are not going to last and you will eventually burn out. We need to take breaks and take time away in order to continue providing any modicum of productivity.
Do you Agree? If so, when is your next vacation and where are you going!?
Thanks for reading!