Do you ever feel like life is too demanding and never-ending — with day-to-day work, project deadlines, responsibilities, social events, holidays, obligations, and chores? Sometimes you just need to get away. But if the idea of a taking a break — even a much needed one – leaves you guilt-ridden and buckling down for the long haul then you might be setting yourself up for some unexpected and unpleasant repercussions.
No matter what’s going on in your life, no matter how important your job, no matter how busy your family life, community work, or social calendar is: you deserve a break.
According to this study, most workplace managers noticed major benefits when their employees took time off:
- Higher productivity
- Stronger morale and motivation
- Significant health benefits
- Greater job satisfaction and retention
Yet, despite the obvious personal benefits of a little time away from “life” more than 40% of Americans who receive time off don’t capitalize on it. But, why?
Maybe you don’t struggle with the guilt of taking a break but you hoard your vacation days, saving them up for the perfect time to get away only to realize something always comes up and you push off that trip once again.
Whatever your reasoning, a workaholic mentality has turned many of us into stress monsters. It’s affecting our health, fitness, and happiness. So, I implore you please, please try taking a break!
Taking a break does amazing things for your mind, body, spirit, and overall sense of wellbeing — when you and I are less stressed we both show up more fully in our lives, we do a better job at everything — even the way we react to stress is better!
Now, that’s something we all benefit from.
Plus, you don’t have to go anywhere. Planning a “staycation” right at home — unplugging as if you’re on a desert island — is just as beneficial.
Here’s what happens when you unplug and relax:
- Relieve Stress – I could end the article now because we all know the devastating impact of stress on our lives. Reducing stress just a little bit creates major improvements in our health. And so, the next 9 benefits detail what happens when you go into stress-relieving vacation mode…
- Heal Your Body – “Restoration is rooted in our physiology” Our bodies cannot heal while under stress. Proper recovery isn’t just essential for exercise it’s essential for everything we undertake. Downtime becomes therapeutic giving us the chance to heal physically, mentally, and spiritually.
- Boost Immunity – the fascinating field of Psychoneuroimmunology explains the power of healthy adrenal function (your stress moderators) to your overall health. Decrease stress and you will boost your ability to fight colds, ward off infections, and eliminate the risk of disease states. Not only will you feel healthier you will be
- Energy and Focus Skyrocket – We’ve all experienced that burnt out feeling after putting in a long day. And many of us also know the power of a good night’s sleep. But did you know that when your brain is relaxed it focuses on memorizing essential skills you recently learned? If you’re struggling to focus or master new tasks it’s a sign you need to take a break to allow your brain to process new information.
- You Have Fun – Weaving playfulness into our lives is a powerful little trick for both enjoying your experiences and relieving the stress response. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins that lighten your load both mentally and physically. Organs and muscles are stimulated with oxygen-rich blood, immunity is boosted, and pain is dampened. All of this leaves you feeling relaxed, lighthearted, and more satisfied.
- You Spark Creativity and Motivation – Studies show that chronic exposure to stress hormones hampers the brain’s problem-solving abilities. Unwinding, taking the time to “think about nothing”, provides those moments of our greatest creativity and insight. Just think about how many bright ideas you have while singing in the shower!
- You lose weight – Stress eating is a major problem for many. Add to it the release of too much cortisol too often and you will find yourself struggling to maintain your weight. Often taking time off allows your body to shed the weight of a harried life – both emotionally and physically.
- You’re Happier – Stress leaves us feeling drained, depressed and full of anxiety. But vacations create a shift in our brain chemicals releasing serotonin, dopamine, and even testosterone that literally leave us feeling happier and more satisfied with our lives.
- Relationships Improve – A cool little hormone called oxytocin facilitates our sense of bonding when we connect with family or friends. Vacations offer us the opportunity to create memories and a feeling of belonging. When this happens we feel safe and are more likely to communicate in a way that strengthens relationships.
- You Cultivate Harmony – Harmony and balance are critical parts of your true nature. Your body strives for homeostasis – a state of balance – and so too does your spirit yearn for a sense of oneness and unity within your life. Harmony requires both active participation in the daily tasks that keep life afloat and the moments of rejuvenation that make “the grind” possible.
The best news is… You don’t have to carve out weeks at a time to unwind. The benefits of taking a break are seen in shorter, more frequent vacations, which yield better and longer lasting results. Rest and relaxation integrate a necessary factor for creating peace, happiness, clearer thinking, better reactions, superior health, and motivation to live your best life.
So, when and where are your next vacation? Mine is in Mexico!
In Love & Gratitude for a little breather,