BY TABI FALCON
Have you ever gotten to a point in your life where literally everything that you do, and everything that happens, stresses you out? That stress could very well be your body screaming at you that you need a vacation, stat.
When you go on vacation, it’s like you get little anti-stress infusions into your soul. Even just the act of not needing to go into work for a set period of time (aka longer than a weekend) and knowing you can relax can be a much-needed stress reducer, regardless of whether or not you go anywhere. “Staycations” (where you are using vacation time but staying at home) absolutely have their benefits as well. By going somewhere away from where you live, you get the added bonus of really feeling like you are taking a small escape from your reality
One of the main benefits of going on vacation that always pops to the center of people’s minds is that you get to have fun, and you don’t have to go to work. Yes, obviously this is true – but there are so many more benefits to vacation than that. Going on vacation has actually been scientifically proven to reduce stress in people. In a world that is increasingly stressful, that is so incredibly important.
While there are some people who believe that taking a few vacations (even not using up their allotted vacation days) makes them better workers, in fact, it does the opposite. By taking time off work, you allow your brain to rest and reset – and often come back more productive than before. This time away can also give you a better perspective and more appreciation for what you do for a living. It’s with this thinking that some employers are actually starting unlimited vacation policies to allow employees to take time when they mentally need it.
Vacations are also incredibly important to help strengthen family structures. Take a minute to think back on your childhood. When you think of some of your happiest moments from your childhood, how many of them relate to a family vacation you took? Families make a lot of memories in their normal lives, however, there are many distractions – work, school, TV, friends, chores, etc. When you go on vacation (and make sure to set a rule reducing the amount of electronic distractions), you get to bond with your family in a different way than you do during your everyday activities. This bonding is important for increasing the strength of your relationships.
At this point in history, during a global pandemic that most of us never thought we would live through in our lifetimes, taking the time for vacation is more important than ever for our mental health. Our vacations will absolutely look different than they did before – maybe it will be at a more secluded campsite or Airbnb on a low traffic beach instead of Disney World, but taking them should be non-negotiable this year. Even if you merely do a staycation where you turn off your work for a week and relax in the backyard in a blow-up pool – taking time to reset your brain is absolutely essential for your health and for your family.