Despite stress from work, more Americans are taking a pass on vacation days. The latest report by Project: Time Off finds that employees took an average of 16 vacation days in 2013. That is down from about 20 days back in 2000.
But the experts say depriving yourself the opportunity to take a break, can lead to even more stress and potentially damaging effects on your overall health.
So for those on the fence about booking that next getaway. read on!
Here are 5 reasons why taking a vacation is a good idea — and how it can help the mind, body and soul
You’ll finally be able to rest
Lack of sleep combined with high level of stress can lead to irritability and negative consequences on your cognitive performance and efficiency. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a vacation is a great opportunity to catch up on sleep. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night to feel energized.
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You’ll get more exercise
While some may not aim for high intensity workouts during a relaxing vacation, travelers are likely to be more active than slumped in an office chair for eight hours a day. In fact, tourists could walk as much as eight or ten miles a day while sightseeing or visiting a large amusement park like Disney World.
Travelers are also more likely to try out a new activity while in a new place, like skiing or snorkeling. There are also fitness-centric resorts that offer a great opportunity to try new workouts and eat healthy meals.
You’ll cut out stress
According to Dr. Margaret J. King, the director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, there are lots of psychological benefits from change of venue from home and work to ‘third places’ devoted to just experiencing the environment. ‘With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome,’ she says.
You’ll strengthen family bonds and memories
According to AARP Travel Ambassador Samantha Brown, travel vacations are a great opportunity to build lasting memories with family and friends, “It is proven psychologically that we make stronger family bonds when we travel than any other time of the year when we are home. It really is an investment in your life.”
You’ll recharge your battery
Wallace J. Nichols, author of ‘Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do‘ says vacationing – especially close to the water – can actually help us feel more grounded, boost your mood and help us stay in tune with our emotions. ‘Often associated with feelings of awe and wonder, water can boost our empathy and compassion,’ he says.
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Want money-saving advice for when you hit the road? See our Travel section.