The Art of Vacation
Claire Miles - June 24, 2023

Consider yourself too busy to take time off from work? You might be shocked to learn that taking a vacation—whether it’s a quick weekend trip or a multi-week getaway—is precisely what the doctor prescribed. Whatever part of the globe we call home, scientific study has confirmed what many of us already instinctively know: what we actually need is some time away from the office. What is it about “vacationing” that improves our health, reduces stress, and enables us to lead richer lives?

And research suggests they’re beneficial for our (perhaps present) illnesses. Think about this: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University’s long-running Framingham Heart Study discovered that men who didn’t take a vacation over several years had a 30% higher risk of having a heart attack than those who did. Nearly 1,400 people were assessed by the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Center, which found that leisure activities, such as vacations, “contributed to higher favorable motivational levels and less depression,” in addition to lowering blood pressure and reducing waistlines.

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Even if you decide not to go on the vacation you’re planning, it might help you feel better. A better mood or mental “lift” might begin to take effect right away. When you take a vacation, the “repair process” is also known as “recovery,” and it involves undoing the damaging consequences of excessive working. Recovery can occur through both the relief from work obligations and the participation in enjoyable, self-selected activities. Stress hormones can rise when you are under continual strain, which can harm your health. Depending on the individual, this can mean experiencing more headaches, colds, and other illnesses. You may restore balance to your health by getting enough rest, eating well, and relaxing. If you travel or attend activities at the height of the cold and flu season, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes since this is a common way to spread germs.

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