Just imagine… you sitting by the pool sipping a cold drink listening to Bob Marley sing “don’t worry about a thing…”, or falling asleep as you lay under a palm tree listening to the ocean throw waves onto the beach every ten seconds, or when you were standing in your skis at the top of Copper Mountain in Colorado looking across the breathtaking ravines saturated with pine tree tops, or you are on the Oasis of the Seas listening to a mariachi band while the ship pulls into the port of Cozumel.
Aaahhh…no meetings, no conference calls, no issues, no “crack” berries, no laptops, no stress. It’s so simple yet no one sees it…vacations help improve your health. We are so used to being in the flight or fight mode, that if we ever try to relax, it seems difficult for our brain to tell our body what to do. We need to shift our bodies back to neutral – it’s time we take vacations more seriously. The famous Framingham heart study showed over a time span of 20+ years while tracking thousands of people that those who took a vacation of one week or more on an annual basis had reduced risk of heart disease. Men reduced their risk by 32% and women by 50%! Other studies showed that non-vacationers had 8 times more likelihood of dying young and 2 or 3 more times likely to develop depression. Now being a business owner, mother, wife, volunteer and catechist who multi-tasks (of course!), I believe that statistic because of what I feel every day – STRESS! Funny thing is I already have a history of heart disease in my family, which increases the probability of incident so it’s time for me to de-stress and fast!
Why don’t we make time to re-group? After a vacation, don’t we feel spectacular, happy, ready to go with a sense of new energy and creativity? Doesn’t that benefit the boss when we return to work and have that mindset of contribution and readiness? Yet we Americans will still forfeit an average of 2 earned vacation days this year according to an Expedia survey. That means we throw away 226 million unused vacation days nationwide. If an employee truly believes that the boss wants them to go on vacation, get the rest and relaxation, and come back to the office ready to give 100%, would they give 100%? Logic tells me yes and not because of any statistic, but it’s just human nature. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in hard evidence before implementing a change, that we lose sight of the mental benefits behind a positive change. Having the right mindset translates to energy that takes action to get things done whether it be at work, home or elsewhere.
So do yourself and your family a favor: start planning that vacation now! Keep the big picture in mind when justifying the vacation – do it for your mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being. You will be a new person afterwards and most likely be around a lot longer!
Gina is a Vacation Benefit Specialist who partners with employers to offer a unique employee vacation benefit to employees to help attract and retain top talent, improve performance, and provide incentives to encourage goal achievement. She can be reached at (630) 915-1968 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more about her wholesale vacation programs for consumers or businesses.