Home  >  Carol LeBeau  >  Carol's Health Journal | 01. June 2012 - Live

Vacations are What Summers are Meant For!

01. June 2012

Have you been to Coronado lately?  The summer vacation season is in full swing and the beautiful beach community is teeming with tourists. Driving along Orange Avenue - the island’s main drag, in six short blocks, I counted seven out-of-state license plates (including one from my home state, Iowa! Go Hawkeyes!) 

From southern California to New York City, Americans in droves are hitting the road for their annual break from the rigors of work and the stress of school, and rightly so. That trek to the Tetons may be fun, but it’s also good for you! Vacations can soothe the soul and help with productivity, health and more.

Wish I’d learned sooner about the value of vacations.  As a young broadcast journalist getting my start in the mid ‘70’s, my career was everything.  As the token woman in an all-male TV newsroom, I desperately wanted to prove to my boss and colleagues I was serious about my work. If that meant working double shifts with no time off, I’d do it. Not only that, I was certain that if I took time off, the person filling in for me might do a better job!  

For years, I’d foolishly forego much needed vacation time and wonder why I felt so stressed and overwhelmed.   I finally had to face the fact that I’m only human and mere mortals need a break from the daily grind.

Thinking about skipping YOUR vacation? Consider this:

*Vacations Promote Creativity: A good vacation can help you reconnect with yourself…operating as a vehicle for self-discovery and helping you get back to feeling your best.

*Vacations Stave off Burnout: Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts.

*Vacations Can Keep Us Healthy: Taking regular time off to ‘recharge your batteries’ keeps stress levels lower resulting in better health.

*Vacations Promote Overall Wellbeing: One study found that three days after vacation, subjects’ physical complaints, quality of sleep and mood improved compared to before vacation.  These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacations.

*Vacations Can Strengthen Bonds: Spending time enjoying life with loved ones keep relationships strong, helping you enjoy the good times more and helping you through the stress of the hard times.  In fact, a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages!

*Vacations Can Help Your Job Performance:  As the authors of the above study suggest, the psychological benefits that come with more vacations lead to increased quality of life.  And that can lead to increased quality of work on the job.

*Vacations Relieve Stress in Lasting Ways: It should come as no surprise that vacations that include plenty of free time bring stress relief but research shows a good vacation can lead to the experience of fewer stressful days at least five weeks later! That means vacations are the gift to yourself that keep on giving.

Bottom line – taking time away from the stresses of daily life can give us all the break we need so we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.  

By the way, vacations don’t have to be exotic and expensive.  So-called “stay-cations”

…a trip to a local park or beach, a short road trip or just relaxing at home can give you just the break you need without a lot of fuss and expense.

Take a break.  You deserve it!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.