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The Benefits of Taking a Vacation

Jul 12, 2021 3 min read Michael DiChiara

Key takeaways

  • Stepping away from work can improve both your health and happiness.
  • You’ll sleep more soundly with a clear head.
  • Taking time off can make you more productive.

 

With the rollback of many COVID-19 restrictions, more and more people are looking to make up for the travel they missed in 2020. Whether you’re planning a rustic local getaway or relaxing in front of a beachfront oasis, taking time off from work is vital to both your physical and mental health. It offers you a chance to recharge your batteries and clear your head, which is a necessity in any industry. In addition to being enjoyable, making time for yourself benefits your health and wellness.

If you’re an independent worker, you may feel as though you can only take minimal time off. After all, you want to remain available for contract work and avoid missing opportunities to claim big projects. However, there are benefits to stepping away from your work life, even if parts of the world are still recovering.

 

 

The head and the heart

While taking a break is a good way to clear your mind, it can also do wonders for your heart. According to a 2019 study, those who vacation frequently have a lower chance of developing risk factors for cardiovascular disease[1]. Simply put: The more you decompress from work stress, the more likely you are to avoid heart issues. Also, neglecting to take vacation for consecutive years can increase your risk of developing heart disease.

With both your head and your heart in good shape, you can return to your projects with renewed vigor. Now that many coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, it’s an excellent time to start booking your next vacation

 

Disconnect and drift away

Even if you’re not sitting at a computer or actively working on a project, you may still be connected to work on your phone or tablet. This can seriously hinder your ability to enjoy life outside your profession. Taking time to step away from your screen and your projects is a great way to de-stress, and live free of deadlines and other responsibilities. It helps you return with a clear head. However, if you must check into the office, schedule a 15-minute session once a day — and leave work behind once it’s over.

This can also lead to better sleep — a vacation can correct the habits that often lead to restless sleep, such as prolonged work hours or using mobile devices before bed[2]. As a bonus, a full night’s sleep prevents issues such as impaired memory, making vacation a vital element for your health.

 

A well-oiled machine

Regardless of the type of work you do, you’ll want to be at your productive peak for each project. However, this desire to always perform at 100% — as wonderful a trait as it is — can take a toll on your mind and body. As with everything else, doing too much can cause you to burn out. If you take the time to let your mind and body rest, you can add some power to your drive and determination, and resume your productivity with a fresh start.

It’s also important to plan your time away in advance. Having something to look forward to could provide some respite if you begin to feel overwhelmed by work. Even if you can’t find the time for a weeklong vacation, long weekends or short three-to-four-day excursions can be enough to clear your head and prevent you from drowning in a sea of projects.

 

What you can do next

Mark your calendar and start planning which days you want to take for yourself. Even if you’re not going very far, taking a few days off work can provide some much-needed peace of mind. If you haven’t taken some time to yourself in a while, use your vacation days soon — your health and your career will thank you.

Footnotes

  1. 1.Syracuse University, "Medical proof a vacation is good for your heart." ScienceDaily, June 20, 2019. (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190620153443.htm).
  2. 2Daskal, Lolly, “4 Scientific Reasons Vacations are Good for Your Health,” Inc., June 13, 2016 (https://www.inc.com/magazine/202106/graham-winfrey/bluejeans-krish-ramakrishnan-videoconferencing-software-sale-acquisition-exit-verizon-zoom.html)

Michael DiChiara is an editorial manager at Prudential.

 

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