Welcome to the no-excuse zone as we discuss the mental and physical health benefits of taking a vacation. Put aside your workload, worries and job security woes and let’s look at why you are actually dying to take a vacation and how to prioritize that in your daily life.
Why vacations are important
Each generation has a work ethic ingrained into their daily lives. Science is showing us the true detriment a workaholic lifestyle can bring. Let’s look at some staggering vacation statistics:
- 55% of Americans, on average, don’t use all their paid time off each year.
- One study found that people who work more than 55 hours per week are more likely to suffer a stroke and have a greater risk of a heart attack than people who work 40 hours a week or less.
- The biggest work mortality risk is overworking, with more than 750,000 people dying from work-related issues.
Vacations are important because it allows a reset of your mind, body and soul. Much like you’d turn an overloaded computer off and on, you need to do that to benefit your health and the relationships in your life.
The purpose of vacations
There’s a difference between taking a few days off work and taking a vacation. You might schedule time off to handle daily tasks like cleaning or running errands that fell behind because of a heavy workload. Here we are talking about an actual vacation, unplugged and disconnected from any work-related or life routine tasks.
The importance of going on vacation benefits you in several ways:
Vacations start with planning
Just planning some time away from the office can make you happier and might even make you feel more supported at work.
According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off, those who set aside time to plan out their vacation days often tend to take longer vacations. They also reported being “very” or “extremely” happy with their relationships, health, well-being, company and job. Time off helps with the eternal search for a work-life balance.
Here are some tips for stress-free vacation planning:
How to plan a stress-free staycation
Taking a vacation doesn’t mean you have to take a trip, either. Simply spending time away from the office on a “staycation” means you can take time to refocus and get away from the stress of everyday office life. You don’t have to be rich to afford a vacation. You do have to be strategic.
To add some mental and physical activity to your staycation, the American Heart Association suggests activities like finding a new trail at your local or state park or visiting a museum. Being a tourist in your own town can give you more insight and appreciation for home.
I don’t work anymore. Do I still need a vacation?
Retired people need a vacation as much as anyone else. You still have a routine that elicits stress and monotony. Going on vacation also helps with cognition, relationship building, and more movement (aka exercise!) than normal.
Plus, you’ve earned the vacation after all those years of work or supporting a working spouse. On top of all that, retired people get a lot of great travel discounts you couldn’t enjoy before.
Vacation guilt and how to handle it
A third of Americans struggle with the mental health impacts of taking a vacation. Whether it’s the extra work colleagues will take on or the intense workload that greets them upon return, some people get bogged down with emotions that have led to America being labeled “No Vacation Nation.”
Much of vacation guilt comes from within. By setting firm boundaries for vacations and sticking to them, you’ll be one step closer to losing that guilt. Plus, you’ll be more motivated and inspired when you return to work, which will benefit everyone. Remind yourself of all the times you picked up extra work when other people were enjoying vacations.
One More Way to Reduce Vacation Stress
Don’t forget, if your plans include an international destination, give yourself complete peace of mind with a travel health insurance plan from GeoBlue®! Or learn more about all health insurance plans from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas on our website.