We live in one of the most scenic places in the world, Lake Tahoe, California. It is notably, a vacation destination. We’ve also set up our lives to earn income in a way that allows us to choose any day of the week and make it a “vacation” day. We can travel whenever we choose and we have traveled to some amazing places. We work hard at growing our business but early on we realized that a truly healthy lifestyle requires scheduled, planned breaks.
If your work life is more time restrictive, you still need to plan a vacation. Did you know Americans are taking fewer vacation days every year? A survey by the US Travel Association points out that seven out of ten respondents skip kid’s activities, birthdays and vacations, even though the same study reported that 73 percent said spending time with family made their lives richer and more meaningful. That is just sad.
Huffington Post recently reported that 40 percent of Americans don’t plan on using all of their paid time off this year. Many workers are afraid their bosses will think less of them or even worse, that they will be replaced by someone perceived to do their job better. There are also many workers with a “martyr” complex who don’t believe anyone can do their job as well as they can and therefore the company will suffer if they leave. Some workers also feel they can’t afford a “real” trip and why risk job security over a dull staycation?
Are you in this group of wage earners, not planning a needed break this year? If so, read the following list of vacation benefits for your over all well-being and you may reconsider.
- Even planning a vacation can make you happier. Research has shown people are the happiest in the planning stages of a vacation. If you can’t afford an airline trip try sketching out plans for day trips you can get to by car. As you are exploring close to home spots you get a double bonus for supporting your local economy.
- Sleep and the relaxed brain. US Travel Association research also says that travelers get three times more deep sleep and an additional 20 minutes of sleep a night while on vacation. Your boss will appreciate this because when your brain is relaxed it’s still working on skills you’ve been learning. Sleep studies have shown a relaxed brain focuses more clearly on essential tasks. If your job requires critical thinking, you may very well return from the beach with a much-needed problem, solved!
- Daydreaming boosts the creative mind. Daniel J. Levitin, author of “The Organized Mind: Thinking straight in the Age of Information Overload,” told the New York Times that giving our minds a time out and thinking of nothing at all can provide “our moments of greatest creativity and insight.” We’ve spent generations chastising school kids for being un focused and staring out the windows when in fact, brain scans of daydreamers show many regions of the brain more lit up with activity when permitted to wander in restful thought.
- Work breaks increase performance. Harvard Business Review points out that when you work on a task relentlessly without breaks you can lose focus. “In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. It’s a practice that encourages us to stay mindful of our objectives…”
- You’ll bring back new ideas from other cultures. We all know that travel changes us in a good way. Making friends and connections in places outside of our home “bubble” helps create a kinder, warmer globe. We also come back from these travels broadened and richer from opening ourselves up to different ways of thinking. The US National Library of Medicine published a study showing multicultural experiences fostering creativity and generating new ideas. Your life will benefit, thus your work will benefit when you can share and implement these diverse ideas.
We are truly happy and blessed with our “life of many vacations.” There are plenty of studies out there proving that you will be happier and more productive if you consistently take time off. Having spent years in the “corporate grind” in contrast to our lives with Zurvita, we know this to be true from more than a study…we know it because of life experience. Life is better with many breaks from work.
So please, be good to yourselves and take a vacation!