How to Make the Most of Your Time Off

How many times have you heard people say that they can’t take time off because it’s not worth the hassle of missing work and catching up when they return?

They claim that vacation is more stressful than being at work, so they don’t use their vacation days. Sadly, these people could not be more wrong. The mental and physical health benefits of traveling are so rewarding that people need to take advantage of their vacation days and take as much time off as possible.

1. Take Time Off to Relieve Stress

Overly busy personal and professional lives take their toll on people’s mental and physical health. Too much stress puts your overall health at risk by:

  • Causing headaches
  • Increasing depression
  • Causing heartburn
  • Making it difficult to sleep
  • Making it difficult to breathe
  • Weakening your immune system
  • Increasing your risk of heart attack
  • Elevating your blood sugar
  • Increasing your heart rate
  • Raising your blood pressure
  • Causing fertility issues
  • Impacting your digestive system
  • Causing tense muscles

On the other hand, traveling gets you away from the daily grind. Taking a vacation changes your scenery and helps you escape your stress and responsibilities. You get away from your stress-inducing problems and enjoy new sights, sounds, and experiences. According to Psych Central, when you travel with a short list of activities, your mind resets and recharges, and your body releases stress.

2. Spend Time in Nature to Boost Mental Health

Carefully planning your vacation destination to include time in nature will benefit your mental and physical health, according to Business Insider. In fact, one study shows that people who spend time in nature have improved short-term memory, even for people who live with depression. Other researchers found that spending time in the great outdoors boosts your mental energy and relieves mental fatigue. Being surrounded by natural beauty prompts you to have feelings of awe, which is proven to boost your mental health.

If you are in addiction recovery, planning a vacation in nature, such as a hiking trip or a camping trip, is a wonderful way to improve your mental health. These trips promote self-healing because they reduce stress, relieve anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and provide you with opportunities for socialization.

Better yet, if you travel outdoors with pets, you will boost your mental health even more because spending time with pets increases your level of the feel-good hormone oxytocin and reduces blood pressure. You also will have time to reflect and meditate and spend time with your best four-legged friend, and you won’t have to worry about traveling with a human companion who may ask you too many questions, judge you, or make you feel uncomfortable. Some outdoor wilderness excursions that are perfect for you and your pet include hiking, biking, camping, and canoeing.

3. Boost Your Physical and Mental Health With a Trip to the Beach

There is a reason that so many people flock to warm, sandy beaches for their vacations. In fact, the physical and mental health benefits of going to the beach are astounding. First, walking on sand is a better workout than walking anywhere else because the ground shifts and forces you to use muscles you typically don’t use. You burn more calories and get more exercise while soaking up the sunshine.

As long as you wear sunscreen and reapply it appropriately, you will benefit from being in the sun because your body produces vitamin D and absorbs more calcium when you are exposed to sunlight. You also spend more time in natural light at the beach, which helps combat depression. Best of all, spending time in the sun improves your mood and sleep because it gets you back into a circadian rhythm.

You cannot afford to lose vacation days if you want to improve your physical and mental health. Traveling relieves stress, and vacationing in the great outdoors boosts your mental health and promotes self-care. You also can boost your physical and mental health and make the most of your vacation by making a trip to a beach. 

Image via Pixabay

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