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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

Vacations Are Good For Health And Productivity, Study Finds

Vacations Are Good For Health And Productivity, Study Finds

We live in a busy world, full of distractions. And finding some me time and peace during the chaos of the day isn’t an easy task anymore. But without taking breaks and resting properly we can’t work effectively. In fact, we can’t get anything done, focus or even get closer to our goals.

That’s because being busy and tired all the time prevents us from turning our brains off even when it’s time to relax, we can’t sleep well as a result of that, and become depressed and stressed over time.

But there’s a solution.

Vacation time allows you to experience physical and emotional benefits

You may have many things on your to-do list and truly want to do your best job and feel accomplished in the end of the day. But you also want to stay healthy and be on top of your game. That’s why you’re in need of a vacation. Once you’ve dedicated all your time and energy to work and daily tasks, though, leaving them for a while doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. You may think that things will get out of control, or that you’ll be left behind and will have to hustle even more after that.

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But these are minor issues considering the actual benefits of vacations. Because, believe it or not, they are great for your health and productivity. Here’s why:

1. Taking a vacation helps you reduce stress.

There’s nothing like leaving the stressful environment of your daily life and entering a new world, full of excitement. The study carried out be American Sociological Association shows that a bigger number of vacations leads to a decline in the psychological distress of people. And when the average worker takes more vacations per year, that becomes a beneficial determinant of population health.

2. Vacation frequency is related to mortality.

According to another study on whether vacations are good for our health, “The frequency of annual vacations by middle-aged men at high risk for CHD is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality and, more specifically, mortality attributed to CHD. Vacationing may be good for your health.” While this study discussed middle-aged men, this works for all people! Whether you are a hard-working student or a few years from retirement, you deserve a vacation.

3. It helps you grow spiritually.

One of the most important aspects of having a vacation is that you get to know yourself better. You learn new things throughout the journey, but you also experience changes on the inside. And once you get back to reality, you can benefit from these by trying new techniques to be more productive in life and in business, for example.

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4. You improve your mental health.

It’s great for your brain too. Seeing new places and putting yourself in an unfamiliar environment are great for expanding your horizons, but it also improves your thinking and creativity.

5. Frequent vacations lead to a happier marriage.

The Wisconsin Rural Women’s Health Study says that females who get vacations more often are not only less depressed and have more energy in general, but are also more satisfied with their marriage.

6. You connect with nature.

According to a study from the University of Exeter Medical School in Britain, being closer to green space improves your mental health right away, and that effect can be sustained for longer. All these are great. And people who frequently travel (even if it’s not abroad), live a much happier life and are more productive.

But then there are those who really can’t afford to take a vacation. Be it because their work is too demanding, are starting a new job, have many things to take care of at home, or else. However, there’s another, even simpler, solution for them. It doesn’t require going away for a vacation, but it does offer similar benefits.

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How to Take a Break When You Can’t Get a Vacation?

Action One: Unplug

Falling asleep with devices around you is one of the reasons why you can’t have a good night’s sleep. It’s also why you can stay awake in bed for hours, and wake up in a bad mood as a result.

So, avoid any technology at least an hour before bed. It may be the only time in the day when you’ll unplug completely, but it will lead to great changes. Set some limits and you’ll soon double your productivity.

Action Two: Have some me time

A great way to avoid burnout at work is to make sure you have some time just for yourself daily. The best choice, and the easiest to start doing right away, is to wake up a bit earlier than you currently do, and use that time to have a pleasant morning ritual. You may journal, read something inspiring, meditate, listen to music, or just drink your coffee slowly and do nothing.

Be sure that this little practice will soon become your best habit. It’s sacred time and no one can take it from you. Dedicate time to it daily and you’ll be less stressed throughout the whole day. You’ll also handle problems at work easily and will generate ideas quickly.

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Action Three: Meditate

It doesn’t need to take long. It may be just sitting still for 2 minutes and trying to empty your mind. That’s all there is to this simple practice, but the benefits are amazing. You increase blood flow, slow the heart rate and eliminate stress. It also improves your immune system and memory. So give it a try.

That’s how you can be relaxed, productive and healthier without having to take a vacation.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2021

13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day

13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day

Do you find you need a “pick-me-up” in the middle of the day? Or maybe your energy wanes just before it’s time to leave work? In these instances, energy foods can be a great solution.

Many of us feel fatigued at a certain point during the day – maybe you didn’t go to bed early enough, or maybe you’re a new parent and just not getting enough sleep through the night. You could be having trouble sleeping and possibly need to look at your sleeping habits.

What if there were some foods that could help increase your energy and are actually healthy for you?

Before we get into the actual energy-boosting foods that can help, let’s talk briefly about how to eat for optimal energy. People that stay energetic throughout the day do a few key things:

  • To maintain blood sugar levels and energy evenly throughout the day, it’s best to snack every 2-3 hours
  • Having a balanced mix of the macro-nutrients—protein, fats, and carbohydrates—helps to ensure a slow, steady release of energy throughout the day
  • Including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables helps to ensure we get required vitamins and nutrients

In addition to eating healthy, balanced meals and snacks spaced throughout the day, there are many foods that can help give a more immediate boost. Although we often crave junk foods when we’re tired, these will do a much better job of boosting stamina without the terrible sugar crash soon after. Let’s take a look at the best energy foods:

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1. Caffeine

Coffee (and some teas) not only promotes central nervous system stimulation and boosts brain function, but it is also a great source of antioxidants and may possibly promote a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and liver disease[1].

Caffeine is said to affect some neurotransmitters that could improve mood, reaction time, learning and vigilance, making it a great energy-boosting food for our list.

2. Mint Leaves

The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition says peppermint is thought to increase ventilation and brain oxygen concentration, which can lead to an increase in energy. That makes this an excellent energy food. Add some mint leaves to hot water for a drink that will get you through the afternoon.[2]

3. Ginger

Ginger is said to reduce fatigue by improving blood circulation and blood sugar levels. This deliciously fragrant food may also offer help to migraine sufferers – comparable even to the drug sumatriptan and with less side effects.[3]

4. Quinoa

Discovered by the Incas and thought to increase the stamina of their warriors, this grain has been touted as the super grain of the future, and one of the best energy-boosting foods for long-term health.

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Quinoa is the most protein-rich grain available, as well as a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids needed by the body. Quinoa contains iron, among other things that can help boost brain function as the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. It also contains Riboflavin (Vitamin b2) which improves energy metabolism within the brain, helping create proper energy production in cells.

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which both help to boost energy levels – the darker the chocolate, the less sugar and more energy boosting potential it has. The next time you’re feeling a little lethargic, take a little chocolate break with this energy food.

6. Yogurt

Yogurt has a high amount of protein, which can help you feel full for longer, so hunger will not distract you from your daily tasks. The fat content in Greek yogurt also tends to be more satisfying. Add in some fresh fruit for an antioxidant boost as well!

7. Berries

Berries are full of antioxidants and vitamins. Specifically, Goji berries are known to have high concentrations of melatonin, which can improve sleep and give you more energy during the day.

Berries are also said to stave off cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The healthy natural sugar in these sweet treats help offer a quick boost in your day, making them some of the best energy-boosting foods.

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8. Lentils

Lentils are excellent at stabilizing blood sugar and, therefore, offer you a slow burning source of energy to keep you feeling full throughout the day. They also help increase your iron stores, which can help boost energy[4].

9. Walnuts

These nuts contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein, which prevents energy crashes and keeps your energy more level throughout the day. A handful of walnuts as a mid-day snack is a great idea if you’re looking to add energy foods to your routine.

10. Cherries

Cherries are also good sources of melatonin, which can help you to get a better night’s sleep to keep you fresh through the day.[5] They have also been shown to reduce inflammation, which can cause fatigue in the long-term. 

11. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are an excellent source of quick, usable energy that provide many essential nutrients, including Vitamin A, B-6, C, and D. If you’re looking for energy-boosting foods, a small bag of dried fruit can give you the push you need to finish all of your projects.

12. Salmon

Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are said to improve brain function and reduce fatigue while also providing vitamin B and protein, which can help sustain energy throughout the day. Omega-3’s are also great at reducing inflammation in the body, which helps reduce sleepiness.

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13. Green Tea

This type of tea contains some caffeine, which we know boosts energy. This warm gem has also been associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk[6].

Learn more about the benefits of green tea here.

The Bottom Line

So many of the foods we eat can help boost our energy. Whether they include complex carbohydrates for readily available energy, or packed with fiber and protein for a slower energy release, they can help increase power and stamina.

As a bonus, a lot of these foods also contain significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which have been shown to play a role in the production of energy within your cells.

Incorporating these energy-boosting foods into a varied diet will definitely help increase energy levels throughout the day and help to stave off that mid-to-late-day slump.

More Tips on Increasing Energy

Featured photo credit: THE 5TH via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Health Publishing: The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee
[2] Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: The effects of peppermint on exercise performance
[3] Phytotherapy Research: Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.
[4] Harvard T.H. Chan: Lentils
[5] Medical Daily: Cherry Health Benefits
[6] World Journal of Clinical Oncology: Green tea compounds in breast cancer prevention and treatment

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