The unrelenting pace of life is a reality for many people. Mobile technology keeps us connected 24/7, and the workday seems to have no end. Sometimes we tell ourselves we can’t justify taking time off to rest and rejuvenate. Too much of this kind of thinking can seriously damage our health and productivity. If you need reminding why vacations matter, here’s a list of compelling reasons:
- Vacations make people more productive at work. Many of us resist the idea that down time ultimately makes us more productive. However, research studies have shown that companies where vacation time is encouraged reap the benefit of committed workers who feel more satisfied with their work. Employees who take their vacation time also tend to log less sick time.
- Taking time off improves workers’ concentration and creativity. People who don’t take breaks and vacations are liable to suffer from the effect of chronic exposure to stress hormones. These adverse effects include feelings of being blocked creatively and of being distracted and unable to focus. Vacations and regular recreation help energize employees and boost their memories.
- Vacations are vital for our minds and bodies to recover from chronic stress. Medical professionals keep discovering ways that our minds and bodies connect. We have been told that heart disease and high blood pressure can be caused by chronic stress, but we know now that the damage extends beyond our cardiovascular system. Our entire immune system is susceptible to the effects of continual stress. Adrenal dysfunction, which frequently occurs alongside high stress levels, can cause a myriad of woes, including reduced ability to fight infections such as colds and the flu. It can also be a factor in chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and debilitating headaches. Even more serious, stress is also thought to play a major role in triggering auto-immune illnesses, which can rob us of vitality and shorten our life expectancy.
- Time off also helps restore healthy sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation is another major contributor to one of our common modern ills – obesity and adult-onset diabetes. Vacations allow us to get more sleep and improve our general sleep quality.
- Improve our mental and emotional balance. Studies have shown that workers who vacation regularly report a better feeling of well-being than those who skimp on vacation time. Stress hormones appear to alter our brain chemistry over time, making us more likely to experience depression and anxiety. In addition, stress hormones like cortisol have been linked to increased belly fat and weight gain. Eating in response to stress has also been identified as a major factor in rising levels of obesity in the adult population. Time away from our work responsibilities has been shown to help restore healthy metabolism, healing both our bodies and our minds.
If the above fail to persuade you that vacations are a necessity, bear in mind that vacations are considered a virtual fountain of youth by researchers who study biological aging. Stay young in mind, body and spirit by taking regular recreation and vacation breaks.