If you’re someone who loves to travel, you already know just how enriching and relaxing a vacation can be. You get the chance to travel the world, as well as meet new people and indulge in different cultures, and you come back home a different person with plenty of experience under your belt.
However, many American workers are notorious for not being able to step away from their desks (whether it’s because of necessary life circumstances, societal pressures, or any number of other reasons). This is a trend that may have only worsened with the pandemic, and it’s taking a toll on employee health!
A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease than a workweek of 35-40 hours. Taking vacation time is important. It’s essential to your survival and ability to thrive. Time off from the stress and pressure of work is integral to well-being, sustained productivity and high performance at work and in your personal life.
If you’re someone who doesn’t get to travel much and wants to ensure their next vacation is as fulfilling as possible, here are some tips for ensuring you’ll get back on the plane feeling great about your adventure.
Vacation Helps You Reduce Stress
Time off helps to reduce stress by removing you from activities and environments that may give you anxiety. Therefore, when you’re on vacation, try to step into a different pattern of living. The more you go with the flow when you’re on vacation, the more you’re going to enjoy your time there! Do away with expectations as much as possible. Sure, you’ve got one or two things you absolutely must see or do on your vacation list, but let the rest of your time away be less structured.
Go downtown for a nice dinner, hit the beach, try an Airbnb in the forest or the desert – just pick something to do for the day and see where it takes you. Of course, going with the flow can be hard for some, but vacations are supposed to be relaxing, and that means leaving your need to rush around at home.
Vacation Lets You Get Out in Nature
The more time you spend outside, the more you’re going to get in touch with both yourself and nature. This is essential because our minds and bodies crave that! The human body is wired to thrive in natural environments – being surrounded by green, feeling the wind on our skin and the fresh air in our lungs. As Brian McPeek would suggest, if you spend some time hiking up nature trails and through National Parks, you’re definitely going to enjoy your time away.
Active vacations make you feel like you’ve done something with your time off, and this is an enriching feeling. Any vacation is made better by a good view and a lovely sunrise or sunset to watch over it.
Vacation Helps Your Brain Rest + Reset
Taking time off improves your brainpower and capacity to learn. When your brain is completely relaxed, that’s when it’s able to consolidate information and retain it. That’s why you often have your best ideas on a walk, in the shower, or on vacation! Travel also helps you boost your creativity. New experiences increase cognitive flexibility and allows your brain to make new connections.
Vacation also help you sleep better, because we get to take a break from all that’s cluttering our minds back home. We get the chance to break away from any negative sleep patterns and let our brains really rest. When your brain gets rest, it can start to repair any negative neural pathways and renew itself.
Vacation Time Increases Mindfulness
Are you in touch with yourself? Have you taken time to just breathe and be present in the moment? Mindfulness is a special tool that helps you increase your ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help us to focus our attention, as well as to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment. Taking a vacation is a wonderful way to help you get grounded and practice mindfulness, which will be a useful skill once you return home to the stresses of daily life.
On vacation you get the chance to look after yourself, exercise a little more, try new things, eat delicious foods, and have a lot more fun than you do at home. So eat in local cafes, hit the nightclub scene, go dancing on the beach, swim with local wildlife – it all makes you feel alive!
A vacation is fulfilling for so many reasons, so let’s start planning our next trip! Where to next?!