Vacation means taking a leave of absence from a job or an occupation. Vacation involves going on a trip or a journey for the sole purpose of recreation, relaxation or tourism. Some people like to take their vacation during holidays, or for the purpose of attending a festival or celebrations. A vacation might be as short as some few days, to about a year, sabbatical, or a career break altogether. However, this piece is about a vacation that is taken for the intent of recreation, relaxation, and the various health benefits of going on vacation.
What Is Vacation?
Vacation is taking a break from work to relax and refresh the mind. A vacation could involve going to another city, country or even just resting at home, and not getting involved in anything work related. The sole purpose of a vacation is to revitalize our mind and body. This isn’t just for the benefit of employees, but also the benefit of the employers. Studies have shown that people that take a vacation at least twice a year are usually more productive, and do have a higher performance rate than those that don’t go on vacation. In addition, taking a vacation helps to free and declutter the mind. Our body and mental state are improved. We tend to buildup a lot of stress over time, which could have damaging effects on our body, mind, and subsequently on our productivity at work.
Is There A Difference Between Trip and Vacation?
A lot of people use these two words interchangeably. However, there is a huge difference between the two.
Vacation means going somewhere with the intention of having fun, relaxing, going on adventures such as skiing, surfing and so on. Vacation is taking a break from work and whatever stresses the mind with the sole purpose of relaxation.
On the other hand, travel is work. It involves going somewhere new, and discovering cultures, new horizons, living in hostels, backpacking and so on. Travel is dangerous work, and it puts the mind to work. People do learn a lot when they travel, and these experiences can change the way they view the world. In addition, traveling also helps people discover new skills, and give a unique perspective to life.
Although vacation is different from travel, the two can mix. As an illustration, you could travel on a 3 weeks trip to Europe, and spend the first two weeks discovering different cultures, trying new things, visiting museums, eating fresh food, and so on. Then decide to relax in Santorini, Greece in the last week, without any form of distraction. That is how you can mix travel and vacation. In simple terms, vacation is pure relaxation. In fact, the only time you would make use of technology should be when you need to send an important mail or receive an important call. You’d be amazed how refreshed and rejuvenated you’d be. On the other hand, travel is trying new things, putting in work to learn about new cultures, and so on.
What You Make Of Your Trip Is Up To You
What you make of your trip is up to you. You can decide to go on a vacation or travel. As an illustration, you can go on a vacation to Bali, and stay in a 5-star hotel for a week, or decide to stay in a hostel and experience the street life. Staying in a hotel would make the trip vacation while living in a hostel or with a local would make it travel. However, what you do on your trip is entirely up to you, as long as you enjoy and feel relaxed.
What Are the Benefits of Vacation?
There are many benefits of vacation. Below are some of them:
- To boost your energy reserves: Working for long hours, every day for months gradually takes its toll on our body over time. This affects our physical health, and also our mental health. Studies have shown that people’s productivity reduces when they’re mentally fatigued. Taking a break from work to relax and refresh is one of the ways of getting our energy reserve back up. Going on vacation, and not engaging yourself in anything work-related is one of the ways of getting this done.
- Vacations can earn you a higher performance review: Studies have shown that those that go on vacation often, to earn a higher performance review, as compared to others that don’t go on trips. This doesn’t just end at earning a higher performance review, but in most cases could also translate to a pay rise and quick promotion. You’d be doing yourself and your employer a lot of good by not canceling any vacation.
- Vacation makes you happier: Studies have shown that those that go on vacation at least twice in a year, are happier than those who don’t. Going to a new place, and not concerning yourself with anything that stresses the mind, has a significant effect on health. People have a sense that they’re in control of their leisure time, and this makes them satisfied with their life overall.
- Vacation causes people to be naturally happy and excited about life: One of the things people crave about vacation is that it gets them high on life, especially after participating in adventurous activities such as bungee jumping, sky diving, scuba diving and so on. These types of activities cause a surge in the release of the feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and so on. They are doing things that you wouldn’t usually do causes the release of these biological chemicals in the brain.
- Vacation boosts the economy of the country or state you’re visiting: It’s good to know that while you’re having fun and relaxing, you’re also boosting the economy of where you are. There are a lot of cities and countries that rely on tourism as a significant part of their revenue. Examples include places such as Las Vegas, Dubai, Greece
- Vacation helps to calm the mind: Vacation is a way of calming our minds However, you have to be intentional about doing this. Some of the ways of doing include the following:
- Do away with technology as much as you can: This is one of the best ways of enjoying your vacation. Cutting yourself off from the world for the duration of your vacation, keeps your mind at rest and refreshed. There is a lot we take in from looking through our social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on, even without realizing it. You should only make use of your devices when you have to make an urgent call or read an email. This is totally worth doing. Going offline for 2 weeks out of 52 weeks in a year is something that should be done.
- Ensure your accommodation is relaxing: One of the must-do things when going on vacation is ensuring that your accommodation is exciting, beautiful and relaxing. Spending some extra money and focusing on just yourself for a couple of days is completely worth it. Staying in a cozy and beautiful environment has a way of calming the mind.
- Vacation happiness is infectious: One of the reasons why employers encourage their employees to go on vacation is so they can spread their vacation happiness and radiate joy to other people in the workplace. This is more noticeable when a large number of employees goes on vacation at the same time. They usually do light up the office space with excitement and happiness. This significantly boosts the productivity of the other workers.
- Vacation helps to make better bosses: Studies have shown that up to 85% of executives and company chiefs have canceled their vacation to stay at work. Most bosses do this because there is a lot of work to get done, and going on vacation, might seem counterproductive. However, not going on vacations could actually be bad for the company, especially when they work for a long time without taking any breaks. This can lead to burn out, mental and physical fatigue, depression and so on. Taking some time off to relax, to come back to the company refreshed and revitalized is what is good for the company.
What’s the Impact of Vacation on Health?
As mentioned earlier, vacation has a significant effect on our physical and mental health. Below are some of them:
- Vacation helps to reduce the risk of developing a heart attack: This is one of the most important benefits of taking a break or a vacation. A heart attack is prevalent among top employers in companies and people that work consistently without a break. It gets worse when said people don’t work out, or exercise regularly. It’s is essential to know that although working out can help in keeping the body fit. It doesn’t precisely prevent mental fatigue. Going on vacation at least twice a year helps to relax the body and the mind. It also helps to relieve stress and declutter the mind, thus reducing the risk of having a heart attack. Studies have shown that going on vacation with a loved one can help to reduce the risk of developing a heart attack to about 30% in men and 50% in women.
- Vacation helps to improve mental health: Studies have shown that the brain structure can be altered after chronic exposure to cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone. This hormone typically surges when an individual is stressed for an extended period of time. There are suggestions that the persistently high level of cortisol in the body could be a factor in the development of depression, anxiety and other forms of mental health conditions. Going on vacation and not having any distraction from work helps calm the mind.
- Improves relationships-It has been shown that taking a vacation with your spouse or family helps to improve Studies have also indicated that women, who take vacations at least twice in a year, are less prone to be tense, depressed or fatigued with their marriages. This is not only good for individuals and families, but also for the country. Only a happy family can raise happy children.
- Vacation is fun– One of the main reasons why people go on vacation is because it’s fun, and it is usually an opportunity to relax and have fun with your favorite person, or just be by yourself without having to concern yourself with work-related Taking some time off to have off, is not only good for the health, but also for the overall well being of the individual
- Reduced burnout: People who regularly go on vacations are less prone to burning out. Working endlessly for tens of months is usually a recipe for mental and physical burn out. Taking a break and going on vacation is a great way of preventing being burnout. Vacation also helps to get the creative juice flowing. Overall, vacation helps to be more productive and also to prevent burnout.
- Vacation helps to boost mental power: It has been shown that people become focused and productive after getting back from a vacation. Studies have shown that prolonged stress can alter some part of the brain, adversely affecting the memory and goal-oriented Taking some time off and going on vacation helps to improve mental power.
- Vacation makes you happier: It has been shown that those that go on vacation at least twice in a year, are usually happier than those who don’t. Going to a new place, and not concerning yourself with anything that stresses the mind, has a significant effect on health. People have a sense that they’re in control of their leisure time, and this makes them satisfied with their life overall.
- Overall well-being: According to a study carried out by Gallup, it was shown that individuals that ‘‘always make time for regular trips’’ have a high score of 68.4 on the Healthways Well-Being index, as compared to 51.4 Well-Being scores in less frequent travelers. In addition, it was discovered that the subjects experienced more quality sleep, improved physical appearance even days after the vacation. These gains were still evident even after 5 weeks, especially in those that had more relaxation and personal time during their vacation.
Overall, it’s important to go on vacation, at least twice a year. You don’t have to break the bank or fly to another continent for vacation. You can go to a nearby city, and just have some time for yourself, without any distractions from work, or the outside world. Going on vacations can also be a great way of learning new cultures new skills, new adventures and so on. As earlier mentioned, you can have a mix of travel and vacation. The important thing is to have fun and be relaxed appropriately.
Blichfeldt, B. (2007). A nice vacation: Variations in experience aspirations and travel careers. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 13(2), pp.149-164.
Healthnet.com. (2019). Health Benefits of Vacations. [online] Available at: https://www.healthnet.com/portal/home/content/iwc/home/articles/health_benefits_of_vacations.action [Accessed 17 Feb. 2019].