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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

Vacations Are Good For Health And Productivity, Study Finds

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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 October 7, 2021

7 Reasons Why Your Body Feels Heavy And Tired

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7 Reasons Why Your Body Feels Heavy And Tired

Interestingly enough, this topic about our bodies feeling heavy and tired has been assigned right around the time when I have been personally experiencing feelings of such “sluggishness.” In my case, it comes down to not exercising as much as I was a year ago, as well as being busier with work. I’m just starting to get back into a training routine after having moved and needing to set up my home gym again at my new house.

Generally speaking, when feeling heavy and tired, it comes down to bioenergetics. Bioenergetics is a field in biochemistry and cell biology that concerns energy flow through living systems.[1] The goal of bioenergetics is to describe how living organisms acquire and transform energy to perform biological work. Essentially, how we acquire, store, and utilize the energy within the body relates directly to whether we feel heavy or tired.

While bioenergetics relates primarily to the energy of the body, one’s total bandwidth of energy highly depends on one’s mental state. Here are seven reasons why your body feels heavy and tired.

1. Lack of Sleep

This is quite possibly one of the main reasons why people feel heavy and/or tired. I often feel like a broken record explaining to people the importance of quality sleep and REM specifically.

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The principle of energy conservation states that energy is neither created nor destroyed. It may transform from one type to another. Based on the energy conservation theory, we need sleep to conserve energy. When getting quality sleep, we reduce our caloric needs by spending part of our time functioning at a lower metabolism. This concept is backed by the way our metabolic rate drops during sleep.

Research suggests that eight hours of sleep for human beings can produce a daily energy savings of 35 percent over complete wakefulness. The energy conservation theory of sleep suggests that the main purpose of sleep is to reduce a person’s energy use during times of the day and night.[2]

2. Lack of Exercise

Exercise is an interesting one because when you don’t feel energized, it can be difficult to find the motivation to work out. However, if you do find it in you to exercise, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its impact on your energy levels. Technically, any form of exercise/physical activity will get the heart rate up and blood flowing. It will also result in the release of endorphins, which, in turn, are going to raise energy levels. Generally speaking, effort-backed cardiovascular exercises will strengthen your heart and give you more stamina.

I’m in the process of having my home gym renovated after moving to a new house. Over the past year, I have been totally slacking with exercise and training. I can personally say that over the last year, I have had less physical energy than I did previously while training regularly. Funny enough I have been a Lifehack author for a few years now, and almost all previous articles were written while I was training regularly. I’m writing this now as someone that has not exercised enough and can provide first-hand anecdotal evidence that exercise begets more energy, period.

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3. Poor Nutrition and Hydration

The human body is primarily comprised of water (up to 60%), so naturally, a lack of hydration will deplete energy. According to studies, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.[3] If you don’t consume sufficient amounts of water (and I suggest natural spring water or alkaline water), you will likely have more issues than just a lack of energy.

In regards to nutrition, a fairly common-sense practice is to avoid excess sugar. Consuming too much sugar can harm the body and brain, often causing short bursts of energy (highs) followed by mental fogginess, and physical fatigue or crashes. Generally, sugar-based drinks, candy, and pastries put too much fuel (sugar) into your blood too quickly.

I have utilized these types of foods immediately before training for a quick source of energy. However, outside of that application, there is practically no benefit. When consuming sugar in such a way, the ensuing crash leaves you tired and hungry again. “Complex carbs,” healthy fats, and protein take longer to digest, satisfy your hunger, and thus, provide a slow, steady stream of energy.

4. Stress

Stress is surprisingly overlooked in our fast-paced society, yet it’s the number one cause of several conditions. Feeling heavy and tired is just one aspect of the symptoms of stress. Stress has been shown to affect all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.[4] Stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands. This can lead to adrenal fatigue, the symptoms of which are fatigue, brain fog, intermittent “crashes” throughout the day, and much more.[5]

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It’s important to look at stress thoroughly in life and take action to mitigate it as much as possible. Personally, I spend Monday to Friday in front of dozens of devices and screens and managing large teams (15 to 30) of people. On weekends, I go for long walks in nature (known as shinrin-yoku in Japan), I use sensory deprivation tanks, and I experiment with supplementation (being a biohacker).

5. Depression or Anxiety

These two often go hand in hand with stress. It’s also overlooked much in our society, yet millions upon millions around the work experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many that are depressed report symptoms of lack of energy, enthusiasm, and generally not even wanting to get up from bed in the morning.

These are also conditions that should be examined closely within oneself and take actions to make improvements. I’m a big proponent of the use of therapeutic psychedelics, such as Psilocybin or MDMA. I’m an experienced user of mushrooms, from the psychedelic variety to the non-psychedelic. In fact, the majority of my sensory deprivation tank sessions are with the use of various strains of Psilocybin mushrooms. Much research has been coming to light around the benefits of such substances to eliminate symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more.[6]

6. Hypothyroidism

Also known as underactive thyroid disease, hypothyroidism is a health condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce sufficient levels. This condition causes the metabolism to slow down.[7] While it can also be called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism can make you feel tired and even gain weight. A common treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement therapy.

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7. Caffeine Overload

I’m writing this as someone that went from five cups of coffee a day to now three cups a week! I’ve almost fully switched to decaf. The reason I stopped consuming so much coffee is that it was affecting my mood and energy levels. Generally, excessive consumption of caffeine can also impact the adrenal gland, which, as I covered above, can almost certainly lead to low energy and random energy crashes.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing is to identify that you feel heavy or tired and take action to improve the situation. Never fall into complacency with feeling lethargic or low energy, as human beings tend to accept such conditions as the norm fairly quickly. If you’ve made it this far, you’re on the right path!

Examine various aspects of your life and where you can make room for improvement to put your mental, emotional, and physical self first. I certainly hope these seven reasons why your body feels heavy, tired, or low on energy can help you along the path to a healthy and more vibrant you.

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Featured photo credit: Zohre Nemati via unsplash.com

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