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Take a Vacation? During a Pandemic?? Why It’s a Good Idea.

I’m currently sitting in a little cottage in Maine. I’ve just returned from the beach and am enjoying a cold beer and some popcorn in the AC as it’s hot as Hades, even up here.

Yes, I’m on vacation. During probably the worst stretch we will see in our lifetime.

I’ve joked with many friends working from home about taking a vacation, or even a vacation day. “What will that look like?” I’ve quipped. “Moving to the couch?”

We all know that fewer of us are getting on an airplane right now, and even getting to a different state may require a covid-19 test or quarantine. But trust me, the results are worth it. Let’s talk about why.

Research shows that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. They also take less vacation, work longer days and retire later. In Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LD’s article called Importance of Taking Vacation, she outlines several great health and wellness benefits as a result of taking time off. A few of her article’s key points are below:

Improved physical health

Stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure. For both men and women, the New York Times reported, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.

Improved mental health

Neuroscientists have found that brain structure is altered by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which can be a major contributing factor to anxiety and depression. Feelings of calm arise from time away from work and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn't if it were still under pressure.

Increased mental power

Upon returning from vacation, workers are often more focused and productive. Studies have found that chronic stress can actually modulate a part of the brain that inhibits goal-directed activity and can cause problems with memory. Time off can tune up a well-functioning brain.

Decreased 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.

The great leaders in today’s world should encourage their staff to take time off and be good role models by taking time off themselves. Let’s face it friends, we’re in for the long haul with this virus as cases spike and tensions run high. Take some time to safely enjoy yourself and time with loved ones to recharge your batteries for the future. You will feel better for it and more ready to face anything that comes your way.

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