Everyone dreams of taking a vacation. This vacation could be anything from whale watching in California to staying in the woods. The idea of travel can get anyone excited when thinking of the sights you can see–the smells, the food, the freedom.
More often than not those desires dissolve into unfulfilled wishes becoming a distant dream you can’t seem to grasp. Many people forgo vacations far too long, most often due to lack of time and money.
A vacation doesn’t need to be costly or long to have benefits. The key is to fully unplug from work and the regular mundane activities of your life. This gives you an opportunity to recharge your body and mind which delivers exponential benefits, both short- and long-term.
Let the 7 benefits below move you out of procrastination and into action. Everyone wins when we take vacation! You may be surprised to find that our main excuse for not taking vacation, time and money, can actually increase as a result of ‘getting away’.
Decompress – release stress & worries
We live in a world that is more fast-paced and stressful than ever before. Work and home life demands, expectations, and information overload continue to increase.
Stress, noted as the #1 killer by many doctors, is often the underlying culprit behind most illness. We get so used to living at this stressful pace we rarely even realize we’re stressed or need a break. Failing to acknowledge your body’s need for a vacation can have huge costs while passing up its many needed benefits.
Recharge your batteries
Rejuvenation is king. Without it, you’re destined to expire and your health, work, and relationships will pay the price. Again, although many people feel they do not have the time or money to vacation, the truth is, they can’t afford not to.
Taking a vacation is as important as charging your cell phone. Taking short breaks is like charging your phone for 5-10 minutes, it’s helpful but not going to have much lasting effect. Leisure and recreational time during evenings or weekends is like charging your phone for 20-30 minutes.
No matter what, at some point, you will have to plug your phone up long enough to receive a full charge if you want it to work effectively for any reasonable period of time. Similarly, the best way to get a full recharge on your body and mind is to abandon your typical daily activities (work and otherwise) for at least a solid weekend or week.
Sharing time with family and friends without the distractions and daily stresses of life creates joy and builds fond memories that bond. People crave a sense of belonging and vacation offers a connectedness not achieved elsewhere.
Vacation can also strengthen marriages, whether you travel with your spouse, or travel alone. Both options are healthy for relationships. You will more than likely find some of the most romantic destinations to get married have been found on a summer vacation.
Traveling together can create increased intimacy and commitment. Couples who support each other to take time to themselves, including vacation time, offer each other the precious opportunity to break free from their role as a spouse and/or parent. The gift of being just “you”.
Many people report increased productivity, personally and professionally, after taking a vacation. Enlightened workers, including managers and bosses, know that the output and bottom line of a company increase when employees take time off. Increased productivity often equates into more free time and more money.
Students equally benefit from vacation. Depending on the workload of their studies, many students do not find much time to vacation except for short holiday sprints, which are often burdened with school work. They often hold out until summer for a real vacation.
Students who choose to study year-round must learn to integrate vacation throughout the year in order to finish the race with any sanity. In life, and school, it’s more important to finish the race alive and well than it is to win. Winning is great but not at the cost of effectiveness and quality of life.
Increase clarity & vision
Vacation often brings clarity to problem-solving, important projects, or goals. It also supports increased vision. The mere result of relaxation and renewal can spontaneously deliver a fresh view, answers, or major insights. This clarity may reveal itself during or after your vacation.
This is not a process that needs to happen nor a result that should be pushed. It’s a natural benefit of vacation that you must trust to unfold in its own way—in it’s own time.
The relaxation achieved from ‘unplugging’ can help you to tap into a universal mind &/or your own inner knowing that is often clouded by busyness and distractions.
Engaging in visioning or problem solving on your flight home or shortly after your return from vacation can prove a very productive time. In some cases, a limited amount of your vacation time can be focused on such pursuits, yet it should be scheduled and kept to a minimum. Do not lose sight of the fact you are on vacation.
Research has shown vacation to increase serotonin (the happy hormone) and regulate melatonin, circadian rhythm, and sleep cycles. It furthermore can decrease cortisol production, reducing stress, which also creates a happier person.
Planning a vacation and looking forward to it is said to increase excitement and happiness for days to weeks leading up to the vacation. Therefore it is clever to start planning another vacation shortly after you return. This way you can continuously surf the highs of the anticipation of your next vacation!
Second tiered benefits: Leading by example
If you’re a parent, teacher, manager, or boss you will not only benefit yourself from prioritizing vacation (no matter how busy you are)— you will also help others learn to do the same. Many people model the aforementioned roles, whether by accident or on purpose, and it is therefore important to lead by example.
It’s important to note that the benefits to your family, coworkers, or peers will in most cases flow over to you. When people take care of themselves, they are happier. Happier people are easier to relate to—period.
Being a happy recharged individual has many benefits, seen and unseen, to your personal and professional life. Furthermore, increased productivity coupled with newfound clarity and vision can lead to a pay raise, more time off, “work from home” opportunities, and much more.
The sky’s the limit here. It’s all about being more effective, happy, and healthy–all a by-product of vacationing. So, where are you going on your next vacation?