The Importance of Vacations, for Stress Relief, Productivity and Health
by Elizabeeth Scott, M.S., Updated 7/15/11 About.com Guide
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.