How Vacation Days Affect Your Mental Health and Productivity


Today, the routine of the everyday working man has become highly taxing and stressful. Long working hours, tight deadlines, and dull hours of commuting introduce chronic stress, anxiety, and depression to workers, resulting in these circumstances affecting their health. Research shows that 83% of workers in the US suffer from work-life induced stress. These numbers are highly alarming, and it needs an immediate remedy.  

It is essential to find a balance to your hectic routine by making use of your paid leave to effectively plan a vacation. These paid vacations used to be considered as a thing of luxury but in modern times have become an absolute necessity. These vacation days can reboot your system and improve your mental health by miles. 

Let us now look at the benefits of paid vacation on your overall health and life:

1. Life Satisfaction

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Short vacation time can do wonders for your physical and mental health. The effects of these excursions last for months, helping you focus on your work better and handle stress effectively. Therefore, interrupting your stressful routine with a much more relaxing vacation can help you improve your work-life balance, reduce anxiety and depression, and increase your overall life satisfaction. These vacations often give you delightful memories, enhancing your state of happiness and contentment, adding a sense of purpose and meaning to your life. 

2. Physical Improvements

One of the most convincing reasons to opt for a vacation is that it considerably improves your physical health. By reducing stress and anxiety, these short vacations can reduce the risk of heart attacks. 

According to the survey conducted over nine years, 12,000 men who had a high risk for coronary heart disease showed that the ones amongst this group who don’t take frequent vacations and trips are 21% less likely to die from other illnesses and 31% more likely to die from heart-related diseases.

The largest and possibly the longest-running study of cardiovascular disease, the landmark Framingham Heart Study, stated that men continuing their work without a vacation for several years were 30% more likely to have heart attacks in comparison to those who take frequent breaks. 

All these numbers give us a glimpse of the grave reality of life today. So, it is crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance to ensure a long and healthy life.

3. Mental Health Benefits

A relentless working spell can take a toll on your life completely. Irregular sleeping intervals, poor eating routine, and endless working hours can disturb your mental health altogether. This leads to chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Following are the effects led by work-induced stress:

Affects work productivity directly

Detachment from work

Poor communication with colleagues 

Disturbs daily functioning

Approximately 1 in 5 US adults (that comprises of 18.3% or 44.7 million people) are affected by mental illness due to imbalanced work life. Additionally, 71% of adults show symptoms of stress-like headaches and intense anxiety.

All this points to how, if not treated correctly and immediately, can turn your life upside down. This is one of the main reasons why a lot of workers today are encouraged to indulge in recreational activities, rejuvenating their busy life.

Vacation can help you deal with mental stress much more effectively. Firstly, it reduces stress and anxiety considerably. Thereby, it enables you to elevate your mood and spirit by taking you far away from a stressful work environment. And this eventually helps you approach work with a much fresher perspective improving your performance and overall productivity. 

4. Improve Productivity

The importance of a vacation goes beyond stress-relief. A change of pace in life by taking a break from your stressful routine will only help you improve your work efficiency.  According to a study, idling, daydreaming, and a short spell of relaxation is responsible for alpha waves in your brain that help you hone your creativity and increase your productivity. A research conducted by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, author of ‘Positivity,’ shows that playful activities, relaxation, and vacations induce positive emotions and feelings that help us break the anxiety.

Some European countries have a tradition of interrupting their working spells with long vacations. Norway even has a term for this. “Fellesferie” means two to three weeks of vacation time that workers take together in July. During this time, the businesses are closed. This has had a massive impact on their mental health, and today workers in Norway are considered to have an excellent work-life balances.

Likewise, in the Netherlands, building industry workers take construction holidays denoted by the term “bouwvak,” which lasts for several weeks. These instances show how vital a small vacation spell can be to improve your mental, physical health and improve your productivity.

We realize how important a short vacation spell can prove to be. Today, far from being a luxury, it has become an essential meditative tool for living a balanced life. A densely occupied work routine can lead to some adverse mental and physical illnesses. 

Hence, a short vacation spell can help you refresh your mind, reduce stress and its physical effects on health, and open your mind to much more creative thinking. This will eventually improve your productivity and help you live a finely balanced and meaningful life.

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