More times than I care to count, I see people on social media respond to people talking about vacation with “What’s a vacation?” This is their way of saying they are way too busy and important to take a break from their business. We have a tendency to glorify being busy and make busy into a measure of success. I am not one of those people. I believe breaks and vacations are important for us all to take, and I have science on my side. Let’s take a look at how taking time to recharge can benefit your life and career.
Health. Vacations are good for your health especially with regards to heart disease, stress and depression. The Framingham Heart Study found that men that went several years without a vacation were 30% more likely to have a heart attack than those that take one week of vacation every year. Right there should be enough to book some time away if you have been skipping your vacations. Marshfield Clinic conducted a survey that determined women that don’t vacation are much more likely to suffer from depression and stress than those that vacation at least 2 times a year.
Productivity. A study was conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) about the positive effects of employees taking time off. A majority (77%) of HR managers said that those employees that utilize most of their allotted vacation time are more productive at their jobs. They also said that taking vacation leads to higher performance and satisfaction in their jobs.
Creativity. For creativity I’m not going to cite any study for my proof that vacation can be beneficial to your creativity. I will simply tell you that Lin-Manuel Miranda came up with the idea for his play Hamilton while on vacation, and he did most of the writing of the play while on vacations. He says in an interview in Rolling Stone Magazine, that this fact is going to make him “double down on making room for myself”. He is turning projects away so he can have more break time to be creative.
If you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, there are some other ways to recharge instead of grabbing the closest electronic device. Try your hand at something new. Maybe you have been considering learning to paint or play an instrument, put some time aside to give it a try. Another great thing to do is get out in nature. No headphones allowed. Get out there and look at the sights and listen to the sounds. Fully immerse yourself in the outdoors and allow your mind to wander.
Take some time this summer to take a break, either on vacation or just getting away from work and the devices that tie you to work.
Guest Contributor, Beth Schillaci