No matter how much we may love our jobs, daily routines, or even our morning commutes, everyone needs a break every now and then. Vacations can be the perfect solution for anyone who’s feeling exhausted, stressed, or overworked. Our mental health greatly benefits from taking a break from everyday life and you’re likely to come back feeling refreshed and recharged. Not surprisingly, those who take more vacations tend to be happier, more productive at work, and have better overall mental health. For some, it can seem counterproductive to be away from work for an extended period of time, but it actually makes us more efficient when we return.
As a general rule, feeling overwhelmed or burnt out is the first sign that you need a break. Our bodies and minds can only handle so much stress, and you should listen to your body instead of trying to push through.
Other signs of burnout are emotional exhaustion, apathy, and insomnia. You may find it harder to fall or stay asleep at night or you might be waking up feeling unrested. If you start to feel easily irritable and negative about almost everything, it could be a sign that it’s time for a vacation. Burnout has physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, so it’s important to pay close attention to what your body is trying to say.
The length of your vacation doesn’t matter quite as much as how well you make the most of the time off. Some people can’t get away from work for more than a long weekend, so the type and length of their vacation may be out of your control. While it’s ideal to go on vacation for at least a week, even quick weekend getaways can be relaxing and give you the mental health reset you need.
In addition, you’ll have to consider other factors like price as longer vacations usually mean more expensive vacations. However, you could consider traveling to a cheaper country, doing a timeshare, or using a family condo if available. Planning a vacation can be exhausting sometimes, but it can also be fun searching for the best deals and deciding what you’ll do during your time off.
You should consider your most urgent needs before planning a vacation. Do you need to sit on the beach and read books for days on end to restore your mental health? Or would you rather get an adrenaline rush by ziplining through a rainforest or parasailing over the ocean? Maybe you need a combination of relaxation and thrill. Vacations are all about you, so consider what stressors you have in your life and then plan a trip that will alleviate them. You can always take a look at your bucket list if you need some extra inspiration.
Taking extended breaks from our normal daily routines has been proven to have both physical and psychological benefits. Of course, one of the many benefits a vacation offer is improved mental health through relaxation and stress relief.
Vacations help lower stress levels which also decreases our chances of developing conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease. The time away from work gives our minds a chance to focus on something else for a change and can provide us with a new outlook on life and our wellbeing once we return. In other words, we essentially gain a fresh pair of eyes while on vacation, allowing us to come up with new ideas and see areas of weakness and strength we didn’t notice before. Vacations also expose us to new cultures while traveling internationally which increases our acceptance and understanding of others.
Those who experience depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition may benefit even more from taking regular vacations. If your daily work environment is normally stressful, time away from that environment can also provide a much-needed break. On vacation, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a completely new setting, free from the people and things that usually stress you out. If you’re used to sitting at a desk all day to get work done, it can also be nice to have time off to enjoy being active while out in nature.
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While it isn’t always practical to take a vacation several times a year, you should try your best to take them as often as possible. Having trips planned gives you something to look forward to during the long, mundane days at work or home. Even quick vacations are better than nothing.
There are plenty of ways to plan trips that fit your budget, needs, and time restraints. However, sometimes a spontaneous trip with less planning can be even more rewarding and less stressful. All in all, try to schedule your vacations for times when you know you’ll need them the most, such as around job reviews, at the end of a quarter, or after a final presentation. Your mental health will thank you for it.