Vacation: All I Ever Wanted

By Krista Elliott

A common rite of summertime is when you tidy your desk, put an out-of-office message on your voice mail, forward your calls, and shout out, "See you in two weeks, suckers!" (Okay, so maybe I'm the only one who includes that particular farewell greeting). 

Vacation. It's the chance to get away from your responsibilities for awhile, sleep in, unwind, and maybe even get away from it all. Sure, you may have your workaholic types who brag that they haven't taken a vacation in years, but don't let them make you feel bad. As it turns out, they're really not doing themselves any favors by skipping vacations. Why? Well, not only is vacation fun, but it's actually good for your health! 

The Benefits of Vacation

  • Stress Reduction: Chronic work stress is an ugly influence on your physical and mental health. Not only can stress lead to headaches, digestive upset, and yes, back problems, but it can take a serious toll on your emotional health, which can spill over into your home life. Getting away from your source of stress, especially if you go for long enough that you can actually start to unclench yourself, can give your body and mind a much-needed reprieve. 
  • Heart Disease Prevention: Taking time is good for your ticker. Multiple studies have shown that skipping vacation, even for just one year, increases the risk of coronary heart disease and/or heart attack. The risk increases multifold if you go a number of years without taking time off. 
  • Improved Productivity and Creativity: They don't call it "recharging the batteries" for nothing. Taking time off to relax is proven to improve focus at work, as well as creative thinking. When you're completely tapped out, a vacation allows your frazzled brain to rest. And if you work in a creative job, a change in routine can be just the jolt you need to revitalize your inspirational juices. 
  • Better Sleep: When your to-do list at work is a mile long and constantly growing, it's difficult to turn your mind off at night and get some rest. Instead, your brain is buzzing with all of the things you have on your plate. Taking time off, and only having to worry about what you'll have for lunch the next day, helps to quiet your anxious mind's late-night yammering, helping you get the restorative rest that you need. 

Whether you're lucky enough to be able to take a trip to faraway places, or just plan on enjoying some quiet time at home (without checking your work email, of course), taking time off results in a happier, healthier you. So, take some time off — you can tell the boss we said it's OK.