6 Reasons Why a Vacation Might Just Be the Best Thing for Your Mental Health
April 24, 2019
By Kay Carter

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by work or are looking to get away from the daily stresses of life, a vacation may be just what you need. Here are a few reasons why taking a vacation could be the best thing for your mental (and physical) health this year.

1. Taking a vacation has been shown to reduce stress

According to the American Psychological Association, vacations reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety. Taking a vacation, in other words, is quite literally an escape from the piles of work, stress, and deadlines you have to face on a regular basis. When you take this time away from work, you’ll be able to let go of the stress that’s been building up and allow time for your mind and body to rejuvenate.

2. Your physical health will improve

Since stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure, it’s paramount that you try to combat this any way you can. According to Inc., men who consecutively skipped vacations were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least a week off each year. This fact is similarly true for women—those who took a vacation only once every six years were almost eight times more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack. Even missing one year’s worth of vacation can have implications on your health, so try to schedule at least one extended weekend vacation once a year.

3. A break can actually increase productivity levels

It can be challenging to consistently perform at peak productivity levels. Think about the normal work day: If you work from 9 to 5 and don’t take any breaks, you probably feel slightly drowsy and unproductive in the late afternoon (even with endless cups of coffee). Now, imagine if you didn’t take a single break during the year. Productivity levels could plummet and you could be left feeling burnt out. Time off can tune up a well-functioning brain and increase productivity when you get back.

4. A vacation promotes well-deserved sleep

Instead of waking up at the crack of dawn every day and trying to get as much adventure packed into your vacation as possible, try to enjoy a good night’s sleep on your vacation. Not only will this improve and stimulate your mental health, but it will also promote your physical health. Pamper yourself, and aim to get at least nine hours of sleep every night. This will leave you feeling well-rested and ready to take on your job when you return.

5. It prevents you from worrying about the little things

Whether you have tons of small chores that are slowly building on your to-do list (think: repairing your dishwasher that’s been broken for weeks, getting that crack in your windshield fixed, or even something as simple as cleaning out your bedside table junk drawer) or anxiety that seems to never leave you alone, taking a mini-vacation can help take your mind off of these things and allow you to remove yourself from a stressful situation.

6. It stimulates interpersonal growth

According to Psychology Today, “Seeing different people and cultures and encountering them directly as individuals and human beings opens yourself to becoming more tolerant and flexible about unfamiliar ways of life.” If you have a boss that’s difficult to get along with or are trying to navigate a complex friendship, traveling may be just what you need to find clarity on how to communicate and treat others. Not only will your sense of empathy be heightened, but you’ll be able to appreciate the smaller things in life.

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