Vacations are an essential part of your life. They could be a road trip to your favorite state park or a week-long trip to Spain. Either way, relaxation is crucial to your well-being. Unfortunately, 55% of Americans don’t use all of their paid time off. Companies should actively encourage time off for employees because of these five benefits of going on regular vacations.
1. Increased Happiness
It’s no secret that vacations make you happier. When you’re lying on the beach or watching the stars from your hammock, you hardly have a care in the world. There’s no worry about a presentation or meeting coming up. Your only focus is what you’ll order for dinner that night at the restaurant.
Travel makes you happier in the short term and gives you heightened pleasure. A Tourism Management study examined 225 tourists in Korea and found travel satisfaction significantly affected their life satisfaction. People who vacation experience prolonged happiness and feel more fulfilled. You’ll have much to share when you return home to your coworkers.
2. Reduced Stress
At work, stress and fatigue come with the territory. Some days can require tough challenges that lead you to be less productive. In total, stress and fatigue cost employees 50 minutes daily and over four hours weekly in productivity. It’s hard to avoid stress at work, but it can be overwhelming. Vacation time takes the stress away and recharges your batteries to make you a better worker.
An International Journal of Stress Management study examined 124 employees before and after their vacation. The research discovered the workers’ exhaustion significantly decreased after returning. Your vacation could be a few days or weeks. Regardless, they’re critical for rejuvenating yourself and returning motivated for work.
3. Fun Exercise
When you’re on vacation, you probably aren’t thinking about your diet or fitness routine. It’s time to let loose, eat tasty foods and live in the moment. Though, some people underestimate the amount of exercise they get on vacation, depending on their trip.
When traveling, you’re constantly walking and moving around from place to place. Your mind doesn’t realize it because you’re having fun while exercising. Imagine you’re snowboarding in the Smoky Mountains during your Christmas vacation. It’s not your traditional gym exercise, but it’s still physical activity. Holidays often require a lot of walking when touring museums, monuments and everything in between.
4. Better Sleep
Regular exercise helps you sleep better, especially on vacations. You’ll feel worn out after walking through the medieval architecture of Germany, the Amalfi Coast of Italy or the Grand Canyon trails in Arizona. The exercise boosts your self-esteem and the travels offer unique learning experiences.
The benefits don’t stop when you’re on vacation. Regular travel helps you sleep better when you’re at home. A BMC Public Health study tracked 52 workers who took a one-week vacation, each group doing different activities. The researchers found trips with exercise improve sleep quality and well-being. Another significant benefit was increased heart rate variability.
5. Improved Creativity
When you’re a happy employee, you’re more productive and energized to take on the tasks before you. Physical and mental wear can significantly impact your performance and reduce production, so vacations keep you sharp. When you travel, you may learn something new that’s useful for your work back home.
On vacation, you may think your work brain has shut down in your time off. However, it’s still working in the background. It’s like the apps on your smartphone — you can close them, but many still operate and update while you’re not using them.
When you return from vacation, you’re likely coming back more creative and ready to go. A Tourism Management Perspectives study examined 800 workers and their vacation experiences. They found vacations produce recovery experiences that boost employee creativity and well-being.
Using Vacations for Self-Care
In your daily life, work is a significant factor. An eight-hour shift — not to mention the commute — occupies one-third of your day. Sometimes, it’s hard to take your mind off it. One of the best ways to recuperate from work stress is to take a vacation. Regular travel helps your mental and physical health and makes you a better employee when you return.
Jack Shaw is the senior writer of Modded.com. When not writing, he can be found out adventuring across country, on his own or with his dog at his side.