For some workers they see vacations as a right, but for others they can be seen as a guilty pleasure – and one that they fear might cost them their jobs. John Morrey, Vice President and General Manager of Expedia.com explains, “A healthy work-life balance is critical, not only to give workers a chance to enjoy their lives outside of the office, but also to recharge, making you more productive when you get back to work.” This is supported by a research and apart from happiness and productivity, it finds that people who take vacation more often live longer!
A large group of middle-aged men of high risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) were recruited. They were given questionnaires which ask them whether they had a vacation and how they felt after that.
Mmore than 12,866 middle aged men (between the ages of 35 and 57 years) at high risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) determined that the frequency of annual vacations, a common form of respite, is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality and, more specifically, mortality attributed to CHD. Vacationing, it turns out, can be good for your health.
The research report writes,
“There are a few possible mechanisms through which vacationing might have direct protective effects on health. First, vacations may reduce stress by removing ongoing stressors (eg, avoidance). The health benefits of stress reduction are well documented. Furthermore, the current pattern of findings (ie, stronger effects with CHD relative to other causes of death, eg, cancer) is consistent with research demonstrating stronger stress and disease associations for CHD relative to cancer. Second, vacations may reduce stress by removing potential stressors and anticipated threats, providing a period of “signaled safety”.
…Finally, annual vacations may provide a unique opportunity for behaviors having restorative effects on anabolic physiological processes, such as social contact with family and friends (36–38) and physical activity (15), in the context of reduction of stress-initiated catabolic effects.”
Making the Most of a Limited Vacation
The perception that getting away from work means that we are bad employees in cultures like the US and South Korea, needs to change, and that starts with individuals stepping up and claiming their days. Making time for our vacations, and fully preparing before setting out.
When setting off on vacation be sure that you are fully disconnecting from work and other obligations. If you bring along your cell phone, laptop, and other devices you are sure to use them, and more likely to check into work instead of truly taking a break. Leave your connectable devices at home if possible, or at the very least, make an effort to sign out of any instantly updating accounts and messaging services (like email or Skype) so that you can truly get away from it all.