Getaways are Good for your Health...

April 4, 2016

     I've just returned from a needed getaway with my sister and close friends. I was feeling tired, stressed, worn out and on constant overload. Symptoms that often come with the challenges of daily life. How about you? Have you been keeping your nose to the grind and feeling exhausted at the end of your day? Well.... have you thought about a getaway? Getting away from home and the daily responsibilities is not simply a luxury. There is increasing evidence that they really are necessary for good health.  A Framingham Heart Study compiled at Boston University studied a group of  men and women for a period of 20 years.This study was compiled in 1948 I would think a less stressful time then as compared to today. The question was how often do you take a vacation?  Even then those participants who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than those who took at least two vacations a year. Forget about cutting down on cholesterol and exercise —  Getting away both mentally and physically will help us unwind, relax and sleep better. Physically removing ourselves from our normal routines , iPhones and computers are a must. 

  Vacations Relieve Stress in Lasting Ways-Studies show that after a short getaway people begin averaging an hour or more of good quality sleep as well as better reaction time in their daily activities. When vacationers arrive home, they generally continue sleeping close to an hour more, and their reaction time was 30 to 40 percent higher than it had been before their trip. Consider that a bonus in addition to your trip.

Vacations Promote Creativity- They can help us to reconnect with ourselves, operating as a vehicle for creative thinking and helping us get back to feeling our best. 

Vacations Can Help With Your Job Performance- The psychological benefits that come with more frequent vacations lead to increased quality of life, and that can lead to increased quality of work on the job.

    Vacations Create Lasting Memories- As a child I remember annual family camping vacations. Yosemite, Canada and Arizona to mention a few all with other family members in tow ready for the next adventure and sharing all the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning and directing our daily activities. I do remember my mom, dad, aunts and uncles being more relaxed and I really enjoyed spending the time together during our family bonding, not to mention many great memories that were created on those excursions.  

     Perhaps the best evidence of the benefits of vacations is that Framingham Heart Study that revealed the long-term effects of time away  on cardiovascular health. When the study looked at the effects of vacations after only nine years they found a positive correlation between more frequent vacations and longer healthier lives. The study reported that men who skipped vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took a vacation at least one week a year. It also revealed a risk associated with skipping just one year of vacation time. Vacations are not only enjoyable but also health promoting.

    The bottom line is that taking a good amount of time away from the stresses of daily life can give us the break we need so that we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.