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The Value of Taking Vacations
by Dr. Dale V. Atkins, June 2014

EVERYONE needs a vacation. Did you realize that even PLANNING our vacation can increase our happiness?

And when we are away from our normal routine, we tend to be more relaxed, feel restored, energized, less stressed, willing to try new things, and, well, just plain happier.

There are studies to confirm that those of us who vacation annually are healthier and happier, more content and productive in our work, and more satisfied with our relationships. Those of us who take vacations with family members often report feeling more closely bonded and reconnected with each another. Because a vacation environment is typically less pressured and more relaxed, we have a chance to get to know the people we think we know well in different ways. It is during BREAKS from work and our normal, often very busy life routine that we get many of the best and most creative ideas related to work and relationships! While on vacation, our brains actually get refreshed.

When we are on vacation, we are more likely to try new things, explore new places, or when we revisit places, we tend to view them with "new eyes." Being away from the pressures of daily living can do that. Also, we are more likely to play. Think about how much we allow ourselves to be silly, laugh, and "play" when we are in our normal routine?

Too many of us leave our vacation days "on the table." When we do this we hurt ourselves and our place of work. When we do not go on vacations we are more likely to become sick, focus on that which is NOT going well, and be considerably less productive at work.

One of the best ways to manage stress is to take a break from it. Vacations can serve as a great break. When we return, despite the pile of work waiting for us, we will likely be rested, energized, happier, healthier, and bring a different perspective to whatever we do.

*Photo courtesy of Ji-Eun Wax.



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