Approximately three-quarters of all employees in private industry receive paid time off as a job benefit, yet over one-half of them do not use all their vacation days or paid time off. There are many reasons why people do not take vacations from their jobs. Maybe they feel that the work they do is so indispensable to the success of the company that it would be unfair to others for them to take time off and make their co-workers struggle without them for a week. Maybe they are afraid that they aren’t indispensable and may end up losing their jobs if they take a vacation.
These fears are usually exaggerated. Taking a vacation helps to improve your overall health, which in turn helps your job performance. Here are some reasons why taking a vacation is actually good for you.
1. Reduce Stress
as much as you may enjoy leading teams, it can cause you a great deal of stress. A consistent level of stress negatively affects your health. For example, it can increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Not only can taking a vacation help you relax and reduce stress but even the anticipation of a vacation has stress-relieving effects. The stress-relief benefits of taking a vacation can persist long after you return to your job as well.
Creative thinking and problem-solving are soft skills that many employers value. However, the daily routine of doing the same work in a stressful environment does not do much to encourage creativity. Research shows that a relaxed state of mind is more conducive to creativity. This is why many people report having their best ideas when they are taking a shower or falling asleep at night. Taking a vacation and relaxing your mind by thinking about something besides work can help get those creative juices flowing. Getting a new perspective by traveling outside your home country also helps to fuel creativity and innovative thought.
3.Improved Physical Health
Studies show that people who take vacations are at lower risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disorders. This probably has something to do with the decreased levels of stress hormones that have adverse effects on health when the levels are consistently high. People who do not take vacations are more likely to die of coronary heart disease than those who do not. You don’t even necessarily have to go anywhere to improve your health by taking time off; a staycation may be even more beneficial to your heart health than a trip would be, according to one study.
6. Increased Mindfulness
When you do the same thing every day, your mind starts to go on autopilot and you become less aware of yourself and your situation. When you take a vacation, it takes you out of your familiar situation. You have to pay more attention to what is going on around you. As a result, you may feel more stimulated by the new experiences and more present in the current moment.
If you dwell on your stressful life at night when you are trying to fall asleep, you may start to associate your bed with those unpleasant thoughts and feelings, which can make it more difficult to sleep. Sleeping in a new bed can help you break the association with those feelings of stress and anxiety. Taking a break from work can also help you break out of habits that disrupt your sleep, such as checking your cell phone before bed or working late on an important project.
Some people say that they don’t have time to take a vacation and they’ll take a break when the work is done. The problem is that the work never seems to get done, so they never have time to take a break and relax. Making time to take a vacation a few times a year helps you to live a long and productive life.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism