Can a vacation improve your health?

Renee West | June 16th, 2010

The vacation season is officially upon us. And while you might be thinking that you can’t afford the time off, consider this: taking a vacation is important for your health.

A survey by Harris Interaction and Expedia notes 36 percent of workers don’t plan to use all their paid vacation days, and 37 percent never take more than a week off at a time. So to convince you to take a much-needed break, here are seven mental and physical reasons to take a vacation.

1)     Live Longer – – a State University of New York survey found men who take annual vacations reduce their risk of death by 20 percent. Men who didn’t take any vacations in five years had the highest death rate and incidence of heart disease of any men surveyed.

2)     Improve your mental health – – a Wisconsin Medical Journal study found women who take frequent vacations were less likely to become depressed, tense or tired. Women who rarely take vacations were more likely to have stress at home and sleep less.

3)    Revamp your relationships – – A vacation is the ideal time to reconnect and revitalize relationships that have taken a toll from our always-on, work-obsessed culture.

4)    Recapture your childhood – – When was the last time you went out and played? I mean really played! Vacations let you recapture that feeling of child-like exploratory freedom.

5)    Gain self confidence – – Financial guru Suze Orman reminds us when you skip vacations, you put yourself on sale. If you have paid vacation days and don’t use them, you’re essentially working for free during those days. By committing to a vacation, you declare to yourself (and others) that you are important and deserve dedicated time for yourself.

6)    Find creative inspiration – – Most of the year, we live on a schedule. This monotony reduces the opportunities for inspiration and new ways of thinking. By traveling to a different environment, we put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation and allow our brains to think differently.

7)    Become more productive – – You can be more productive by not working? Yes! A vacation forced you to make the remaining time of the year more efficient. Your scheduled vacation becomes a reward. It entices you to eliminate distractions, work more efficiently and get things done.

So what are you waiting for? Plan that vacation, so you can create unforgettable memories and be healthier, more creative and productive. Where are you vacationing next?

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