The Importance of Getaways and Why You Should Be Taking One
If you haven’t been taking vacation time recently, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Study after study has revealed the important benefits of time away from the normal daily grind, including:
- Better work performance
- Boosted heart health
- Improved focus
- Increased energy levels
- Better life balance
- Gain a sense of restoration
- Obtain new perspectives
- Broaden horizons
- Strengthen personal growth
- Better overall family harmony
- Increased personal wellbeing
Unfortunately, many people aren’t given the option of paid vacation time, or simply don’t take it. In fact, one study found that one in four Americans don’t receive any paid vacation or holidays, which is why the US is known as the “no-vacation nation.” Other countries, like Australia and Japan, require at least four weeks of paid time off for workers, whereas others, including France, guarantee six at a minimum.
But just because workers are “guaranteed” vacation time doesn’t necessarily mean they’re using it. One study found that nearly half of Americans let at least some vacation time go unused every year. This means 50% of us just in the US are throwing away opportunities to rest, relax, and take time away from the office.
When we don’t relax, chronic stress creeps in. Whether it’s from deadlines or crucial decision-making, managing a household, or being under, over, or unemployed, stress takes a terrible toll on both our mental and physical health. Chronic stress can lead to the disabling of our natural resistance to infection, alters our ability to maintain essential physical functions, impairs food digestion, and can even change genetic material.
So here’s our best advice for battling work-related stress: take your due time off! And here are a few other tips for ensuring your vacation is successful in terms of rest, relaxation, restoration, and recuperation:
- Don’t take the office with you. Leave technology behind.
- Carve out free time for yourself.
- Go to a climate that restores you (especially if you suffer from seasonal depression).
- Make sure you get good, sound sleep.
- Don’t pack every moment completely full. Leave out some flexible, unscheduled time.
- Be open to making new acquaintances.
- Exercise, even if it’s just brisk walks.
- Immerse yourself in the culture.
- Create shared experiences with your loved ones.
So, now that you’ve seen the overwhelming evidence, you’re probably ready to hop on a flight to the next relaxation-destination. But where to? Luckily for you, we’ve compiled some of the most relaxing vacation spots and activities around the world:
- Go lighthouse hunting along the coast of New England or the Great Lakes
- Watch boats come and go through Cruz Bay, St. John
- Hop from one far-flung Tuscan village to the next in Italy
- Hang out in a hammock over the ocean in Maldives
- Go on a yoga and meditation retreat to Bali
- Become one with nature in one of the World’s Best Treehouses
- Enjoy both indoor and outdoor detoxification baths at Ten Thousand Waves Resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Relax in Zen-inspired accommodations with personal hot tubs and breathtaking mountain views at Takahashi Gardens, British Columbia
- Get snowed-in in a cabin in the mountains (ANY mountains) and chill out.
- Opt for a tech-free, all-inclusive resort to get away from it all.
- Step back in time on Mackinac Island where all travel is by foot, horse and carriage, or bicycle.
- Take a “Coping Successfully with Relentless Stress” program at Red Mountain Spa near Zion National Park.
- Luxuriate in the open air at the mountainside, eco-friendly lodge, Jade Mountain Resort, in St. Lucia.
- Detox at the hidden resort and spa called The Sanctuary on the Thai island of Koh Phangan.
- Never get out of bed watching the Northern Lights in one of Finland’s thermal glass igloos.
- Soak in a traditional Turkish bath in Budapest.
- Relax in a mineral or mud bath in Jumala, Latvia.
- Rent a small home and winter in Ireland, only emerging for dinner at the local pub.
- Stay on a remote island where life seems far, far away, like Seychelles or Easter Island.
- Lose cellphone reception at the Fairmont Kenauk in Quebec.
Now that you have a serious case of wanderlust, we encourage you to spend your next vacation days focusing on relaxing and leaving work at the office. Safe travels!
 Boston College Center for Work and Family Carroll School of Management (n.d.) Tip sheet: the importance of taking a ‘work-free’ vacation. Retrieved from http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/centers/cwf/pdf/Vacation%20Tip%20Sheet%20Final.pdf
 Dr. Mercola (2013). The importance of taking vacations for recovery, de-stressing and reflecting. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/09/taking-vacations.aspx
 Mazie, S. (n.d.) Why is the United States the “No-Vacation Nation”. Retrieved from http://bigthink.com/praxis/why-is-the-united-states-the-no-vacation-nation
 Krauss Whitebourne Ph.D., S. (2010). The importance of vacations for our physical and mental health. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201006/the-importance-vacations-our-physical-and-mental-health