When it comes to being workaholics, American workers are high on the list. Based on a survey in 2020, since the early spring of last year, a staggering amount of US employees have postponed, canceled, or shortened their vacation time.
It is not surprising that the US is dubbed “No Vacation Nation” by the Center for Economic and Policy Research While most employees would love to take advantage of their vacation credits, several factors are preventing them.
For instance, lean staffing or furlough makes it difficult for most employees to get away from work. Some employees are afraid that taking a vacation leave makes them appear less committed to the company than the other workers.
However, not taking a break from work will eventually take a toll on employees’ overall well-being. A study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2016 showed that about 745,000 workers died of cardiovascular-related diseases because of overwork. The pandemic only increases the number as people are more stressed than ever.
Vacation time is essential for employee survival. Taking time off work is crucial to maintain well-being, productivity, and efficiency. Hence, whenever you think twice about whether to take that vacation or not, choose the former. It is good for you, your organization, and everyone.
1. Vacation Increases Mindfulness
We can only function on autopilot for so long. By going on a holiday, you take a break from the familiar, typical routine.
With the decreased familiarity with the things around us, we tend to become more fully present and be truly awake. We feel more stimulated and in tune with our surroundings than when we follow the same old, boring routine.
While mindfulness itself is it is own reward, there are also added benefits. They include an increased level of happiness, reduced stress, boost compassion and resilience.
Vacation travels also offer that opportunity to channel your “real self.” It is like you can be whoever you want to be when you are on holiday. Check out a wig store and change your hairdo. Or get a total makeover while you are in a different city.
2. Vacation Is Good for the Heart
Several studies have shown the correlation between vacation and heart health.
In a 1992 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it was discovered that women who seldom take vacations—just one every six years—are at higher risk of having a heart attack or cardiac death than women who take a couple of breaks each year is doubled. The same results go for men who take very few vacations.
People who experience so much work-related stress feel like they do not deserve to take a break. But again, it can never be overemphasized how crucial vacation is for employees’ overall well-being.
3. Vacation Boosts Brain Activity and Creativity
Neuroscience pretty much has shown to us that the big ‘aha’ moments happen when our minds are in their relaxed state; no wonder why most of our best ideas happen while we are in the shower, on a hike, and on vacation.
Delving into the fashion industry, one study proves how immersing oneself self in another culture boosts creativity. The backgrounds of over 270 top designers were compared.
The research showed that designers who opted to live overseas tend to consistently produce more creative fashion lines as judged by trade journalists and independent buyers.
It should be noted, though, that vacationing overseas per se boosts creativity and brainpower. It also calls for you to immerse yourself in the local culture.
4. Vacation Helps Reduce Stress
When we are stressed, our bodies release certain hormones, namely cortisol and adrenaline. While they can be helpful in the short term as they trigger the “fight” or “flight” response, prolonged exposure of our bodies to these hormones poses several health risks, including heart diseases.
A time off from work helps minimize stress. It is even shown that the prospect of an upcoming vacation helps keep the stress at bay.
5. Vacation Brightens Your Mood and Improves Sleep
Since people who go on vacation feel less stressed, they are in a brighter disposition. Vacation offers you a break from the everyday mundane routine. In Sweden, experts noted that during vacation periods, sometime around July, only fewer antidepressant medications were dispensed.
Vacation also helps reset our sleeping habits. While we are on holiday, sleeping on a new bed, we tend to dissociate from the negative sleeping patterns we have developed back home.
Take That Vacation Leave
Usually, the best human experience does not happen in the four corners of our offices. It is when we are out and about, exploring the world. Thus, take that vacation you have been dying to get.