It’s no surprise that stress is a detriment to your emotional and physical health and wellness. But what we often take for granted is the importance of vacationing to counterbalance stress. To be frank, vacations are severely underrated, and not just because they help maintain our sanity. Here are five reasons that you should never let your vacation days go to waste.
1. You’ll Lower Your Stress
This seems obvious – more time away from your responsibilities naturally equals less stress, right? While that’s true, there’s an actual science behind this that deserves to be represented. More work and less play means that the hormone in your brain called cortisol (the “stress” hormone) is more frequently produced. Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone that our bodies need to perform certain functions, but increased levels of cortisol can cause anxiety, depression and even weight gain. Vacations provide more than opportunities for R&R. By taking vacations more frequently, you’re acknowledging the importance of your mental and emotional wellness.
2. You’ll Become More Cultured
If you’ve never gotten the opportunity to travel the world, there’s no time like the present. When we’re overworked, we tend to lose sight of the world, and forget that there are far off places that exist outside of our personal bubbles and comfort zones. The experience of being in an unfamiliar environment is enriching and eye-opening, and allows for increased cultural sensitivity, empathy, and awareness.
3. You’ll Become More Introspective
When you’re finally able to focus on something other than your responsibilities, the world becomes wider, brighter and more lovely, and it can create almost surreal feelings of tranquility within. You’ll never feel more at peace with yourself than when you’re able to step back from work and day-to-day responsibilities, and experience some of the greatest joys that life has to offer.
4. You’ll Increase Your Productivity
That’s right, vacations increase your productivity and your creativity in the long run. Let’s face it, sometimes we get burnt out and need downtime to revitalize our mental processes. As a matter of fact, studies indicate that companies with flexible vacation policies benefit from increased productivity company-wide and decreased use of employee sick days. Additionally, 70 percent of workers reported a boost in creativity with regular vacations.
5. You’ll Get Better Sleep
Unless you’re waking up at 5 A.M. to go zip-lining through the El Yunque rainforest (and even when you are), chances are, you’re getting the best sleep you’ll ever have on vacation. The best part about this is that it doesn’t just stop there. Research indicates that people who vacation regularly sleep 20 percent better than those who don’t. They achieved more quality sleep in their travels and the benefits didn’t simply disappear when they returned home.