Most of us love going on vacation. However, according to Allianz Global’s 11th annual “Vacation Confidence Index” survey, 36 percent of Americans took their last vacation more than two years ago, and more than half (at 51 percent) haven’t taken a trip in a full. While there several reasons why Americans aren’t taking vacations (they don’t have the budget, can’t get away from work, or have concerns like COVID-19), the fact remains that vacations are beneficial to your health.
Vacations are good for your mental health and well-being.
Researchers have found that vacation can be good for your mental health and well-being. Studies have found that getting away from daily stressors, such as work, can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.
It’s also been found that vacation can lower the risk of heart disease, improve the quality of sleep, and enhance overall life satisfaction. Why? Because planning how you spend your leisure time gives you more control over your life and having new experiences releases dopamine. Most importantly, it helps you clear your mind and relax.
"Without time and opportunity to do this, the neural connections that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it actually more difficult to shift into less-stressed modes," said clinical psychologist Deborah. "What neuroscience is showing is that we require downtime in order for our bodies to go through the process of restoration. It is only when we are safe from external stresses that our bodies can relax enough to activate restoration."
It strengthens relationships.
Whether if you’re traveling with friends, family, or even co-workers on a business trip, vacations can also improve the health of your relationships.
“A large body of research shows that engaging in exciting and novel activities with a partner increases feelings of closeness and passion,” explains Gwendolyn Seidman Ph.D. “Field experiments where couples were asked to spend time together doing things they both found exciting, and lab experiments in which couples tried fun, novel, activities together, have shown that these activities increase feelings of intimacy and closeness.”
Also, traveling creates memories and gives you a chance to learn more about your traveling companion.
Vacations can help you professionally.
Besides helping you avoid work burnout, studies show that professionals who are required to take time-off are more productive and happier with their job. That’s because stepping away from work allows you to restock your energy supply.
New experiences can also spark your creativity and help you gain a fresh perspective. Moreover, those who take vacations tend to be more motivated in achieving their goals.
What if you can’t get away anytime soon?
Even just the act of planning a vacation in the future can make you happy.
Furthermore, a brief trip can be equally beneficial as a week-long getaway. "Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out,” said clinical psychologist Francine Lederer. That means simply unplugging from work for the weekend and doing something that you enjoy can help improve your health and well-being. For example, you could do a daylong road trip with a friend or plan a staycation at home with your family.
In short, whether you’re planning a month-long excursion overseas, a weekend spa retreat, or camping in your backyard, make getting away a priority in your life.