Ah, the joys of vacations—those beautiful days filled with that let’s-be-free, relax and disconnect kind of attitude. Just the mere idea of taking a break from the demands of everyday life is enough to elicit an overwhelming sense of happiness and excitement, so tack on the fact that vacations are healthy for you and … you’ve hit the jackpot!
Nobody should have to power through life without taking a vacation— or five. On any given day, you put your body through a sufficient amount of stress, generally without giving yourself the appropriate time to recover. With that in mind, it’s important to make vacations a priority if you want to maintain your overall wellbeing and health.
General Health Benefits
Relieves Stress: Several studies have shown a direct link between stress and health conditions such as headaches, cancer and various types of infections. Relief from stress allows you to regain energy and protect your immune system from hitting rock bottom.
Improves Sleep: The lack of stress that vacations often provide gives the body the perfect opportunity to relax. This leads to a better, more productive sleep, which can affect your mood and can be instrumental in overall health.
Staves off Heart Attacks: Studies show that you are at a higher risk of heart disease just by going one year without taking a vacation. One year! That’s because vacations reduce stress, improve sleep and enable exercise.
Brain Health Benefits
Mental Health: Studies have found that there is a positive relationship between vacations and intellectual function. A well-rested mind is not only more effective; it’s also invaluable to overall mental wellbeing.
Improves Cognition: Vacations bring about a new set of challenges, whether it’s trying to figure out directions, pick the best restaurants, learn about a different culture or even speaking a different language. By introducing your brain to new challenges, cognition is significantly improved.
Sparks Creativity: Taking a vacation forces you out of your normal routine and gets your brain thinking differently. This can provide a fresh perspective for problem solving, which can be helpful in personal or professional life.
Vitamin D + Stress Relief & Rest = Lower Risk of Death
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and keeping the immune systems and nervous system functioning normally. With August being the lowest month of mortality, researchers speculate that it’s the result of the combination of vitamin D synthesis (from being in the sun) and the rest and relaxation that you get from vacations.
While there are vitamin D supplements available, spending as little as 5-15 minutes outdoors in the sun can provide the needed benefits for overall health. The best part—the sun is free! Further, preliminary research suggests Vitamin D can help prevent various forms of cancer, including breast, prostate and colon cancers.
Healthy Family Relationships
Vacations provide the perfect ingredients for family bonding and relaxation. More often than not, a change in scenery is exactly what you need to spark conversation, laughter and an all-around slower pace. This feeling of togetherness goes hand in hand with the physical and the mental health benefits of taking time off—a combination that is simply irreplaceable. Not to mention, taking time off can be a great opportunity to meet new people, laugh and do the things that you most enjoy with the people you love.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your family, pack your bags and head out on another great family vacation!