The Powerful Benefits of Taking Vacations

by Delilah Newton | May 05, 2022

Improved focus and job performance. Less stress. Better heart health — and even a lower risk for early death.

One powerful strategy delivers all these benefits, and then some. Plus, it’s fun.

Vacationing offers a respite from the daily grind. Despite the perks, many people pass. Of more than three-fourths of Americans who have paid vacation days, fewer than half use them.

REASONS TIME AWAY MATTERS
Your body responds to workday pressures by producing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These help you meet deadlines and other challenges.

Without breaks, this process enters overdrive. Levels of stress hormones stay high. This can result in burnout, anxiety, depression and damage to your cardiovascular system.

Days off provide a hard reset, interrupting the cycle. When you’re refreshed, it’s easier to make wise choices, such as eating well and exercising.

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR BREAK
You don’t have to book a monthlong getaway. Day trips or mini-vacations help, too. So do staycations, where you don’t even leave home.

TO MAKE ANY RESPITE RESTFUL:

  • Slow down. Packing too much into time off adds excess stress. Include time to relax and activities specifically focused on recovery, such as easy walks and connecting with friends and family.
  • Leave work behind. You might feel compelled to check email or take a few business calls. But these so-called spillover tasks interfere with vacation’s positive effects. Do your best to set boundaries and mentally detach from the job, which can be very hard to do.
  • Get mindful. Focus on the present moment, and the advantages of leisure linger. One study showed that people who meditated during vacation — either during a guided retreat or on their own — felt more energized and emotionally healthy 10 weeks later.

QUICK TIP
Another key aspect of good health on the job: staying home when you’re sick.
If your employer offers sick leave, you typically aren’t compensated for unused days.
So, it pays — for your health and the health of those around you — to use that time.

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KEEP UP WITH YOUR CARE WHILE YOU'RE AWAY

When you sign up for MyChart, you can request appointments, ask your provider a question and request refills of your medication. Log on to mychart.crh.org to register.

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