WASHINGTON, November 17, 2016 – In the words of late esteemed football coach Vince Lombardi, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand…,’ but what is often ignored is the usefulness of relaxation.
While reclining on Saturday is great for health, taking a vacation has a potent number of benefits for the hardworking and weary.
A Fresh Look
While it is often impossible to cure one’s wanderlust by relocating to new environments on a regular basis, a vacation also provides the benefits of being in a new environment. The director of the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis, Dr. Margaret J. King, asserts that the release of everyday obligations allows the mind to reset— which in turn allows the mind and body to relax.
An incorporation of new sounds, smells, and sights even temporarily gives the senses something new to experience, which prevents psychological burnout.
Physical Health Boost
Two studies performed on both men and women by The Framingham Heart Study found that coronary heart disease is eight times less likely to develop in women if they take at least two vacations a year. Men who did not take at least one vacation a year were at a 32% higher risk of dying from a heart attack than those who vacation.
Vacations typically cause a traveler to become more active than they would be in a stationary work setting; sightseeing and hiking involves walking, and oftentimes traveling is the time to try new things such as bicycling or rowing.
A break from everyday pressures goes far. Depression and tension levels decrease dramatically as well as an overall lowering of both depression and tension during everyday life when vacations are regularly taken.
Vacationing reduces stress hormone levels in the body according to the American Psychosomatic Society; even the knowledge that a vacation is coming soon has a soothing effect. Extended rest from being able to awaken when one chooses also reduces the irritation that is commonplace in the everyday grind; oftentimes many forego the recommended seven hours of sleep attempting to juggle workloads and family and social life.
Enhances Family Bond
Psychology Today references a Purdue University study regarding a sociological term called the “crescive bond.” The crescive bond is a term used to describe the bonding of individuals who share an experience. This type of bond is especially prominent when the shared experience is something out of the norm, i.e. a vacation. Regular vacations with the family enhance communication and solidarity, and also provide the family with pleasant memories associated with their loved ones to look back on.
It’s a known fact that family vacations almost always have an amount of stressors involved, but even the mishaps in a vacation setting can be looked back on with affection.
It has been found that vacationing boosts the emotions that may have become dulled by experiencing the necessary everyday monotone of life. Author Wallace J. Nichols proposes that vacationing near a body of water especially enhances emotional health and empathy; while a beach is always a great choice for vacationing, try opting for a rare water-based experience such as savoring the rejuvenating effects of a natural hot spring in Hokkaido, Japan.
Increased Focus at Work
Vacations are not a waste of the time that could have been used to become successful, it is a chance to come back to the office better than ever. It is impossible not to think of your career while away from it for an extended period; thinking about it in a new setting may provide innovative ways to overcome obstacles that may have hindered you in the past.
As a final thought, Forbes states that the United States is the third most productive country in the world, while Germany and France are the top two. It’s interesting to note that these top two countries mandate more than 30 days of paid vacation— the United States has no law at all requiring paid time off.