Health benefits of taking time off
When was the last time you took a break from work and all your other responsibilities? While we can’t always indulge in a long, extended holiday from our lives, we should try to take some time away from our routine to refresh and replenish our mind, body, and spirit.
Still not convinced? Check out these top health benefits of taking time off:
1. Boost your mental health
Multiple studies have shown that taking a rest from our routine also gives the brain a break – and contributes to greater overall happiness and wellness. Take for instance a recent study conducted by the Mind Body Center at the University of Pittsburg. It found that people who had various health conditions including breast cancer and cardiovascular disease had higher positive emotional levels and lower reported depression when they took a break. Weight loss and lower blood pressure was also experienced.
2. Healthier heart
A study reported in a New York Times article found that while work can put significant stress on the heart, taking time off reduces the risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease.
"It shows how the body reacts to a lifestyle of stress. This is real evidence that vacations are important to your physical health," said Elaine Eaker, author of the Framingham Heart Study.
3. Fresh perspective
Taking a break – even a short one – can grant you a renewed outlook on your life and direction. When we get caught up in the everyday, we aren’t able to take a step back and see things through a wider lens. So if you’re facing some serious issues or changes, try taking some time out to relax and see what unfolds.
4. Enhanced creativity
Want your creative juices to flow more freely? Then take a trip abroad! Northwestern University research found that travelling overseas helps us to overcome “functional fixedness” since we have to adjust to different places and cultures, making us more creative (source).
5. Ward off depression
Depression can stop you from doing just about anything. But if you can plan and take a holiday regularly, you may find depression eases its grip. A 2005 study found that women who don’t take regular breaks are up to three times more likely to be depressed than women who take them often (source).