We live in a society that values—we would argue that it overvalues—being busy. Somehow, we have arrived at a place in which many people work themselves extremely hard because they consider busyness a kind of status symbol. If you are busy all of the time, you must be important, right?
Maybe so. But then again, maybe not. Maybe you are just letting your employer (or, increasingly, your employers) get the benefit of your willingness to work all of the time. There may be very few benefits for you yourself. You might be trying to impress the boss or your coworkers (or even your family and friends), but they might simply be happy to let you do more than your fair share without, for example, promoting you or giving you a raise.
But even if you are catching the eye of the folks who could advance your career, you are still doing yourself a significant disservice if you allow yourself to burn the candle at both ends. How big a disservice?
Well, the Harvard Business Review published an article with the headline: “Thinking of Skipping Vacation? Don’t!”
And Forbes did them one better in terms of urgency: “Why Taking Vacation Time Could Save Your Life.”
We want to note here that the Harvard Business Review and Forbes are both business publications. If their writers think it is essential that you take your vacation, it is probably worth heeding their advice.
Let’s look at why.
Taking a Vacation Supports Your Overall Mental Health
On the one hand, the idea that taking a vacation can boost your mental health can seem so obvious that it might go without saying. But if it truly went without saying, many more people would actually take advantage of their vacation days. So let’s break it down a bit. Here are just some of the ways vacations can be beneficial to your mental health.
- Just the planning of a vacation can boost your level of happiness—and that happiness extends during and following your time off.
- Going on vacation can lessen the symptoms of a variety of mental health disorders so that you feel less anxious and, as we noted above, happier.
- Vacations seem to lower your risk of suffering a heart attack or developing heart disease. That’s good news for your physical health, of course, but it is also good news for your mental health because mental and physical well-being are deeply intertwined.
- When you take a vacation with others, whether family, friends, or both—you have an opportunity to strengthen your relationships by sharing fun and relaxing moments and creating shared memories. Strong relationships support your mental health.
You Experience Benefits – And So Does Your Employer
We’ve established that a vacation can be good for you, but it is important to remember that it can also be good for your employer. That’s because a vacation allows you to come back to work more relaxed and inspired by new experiences. As a result, you and your employer may discover that you are more productive and even more creative after some time away.
A Vacation Doesn’t Have to be Extravagant to be Excellent
There are plenty of factors at the moment that may have you thinking that a vacation is too expensive or too risky from a public health perspective. We certainly understand why you might feel that way.
But it is essential to remember that you don’t have to hop a flight to Europe or drive across the country to have a relaxing and meaningful vacation. A series of well-planned (or even somewhat random) day trips can be wonderful—as can an intentional stay-cation.
The key in all cases—whether you travel far away, stay home, or do something in the middle—is to fully disconnect from work. It can be hard to do that since we are all so connected all of the time these days, but it is not impossible. And the benefits are well worth the effort of protecting your vacation from work-related interruptions.
We Are Hard at Work Helping Those with Mental Health Disorders
If you are struggling with a mental health disorder, a vacation may be the last thing on your mind. Depression, anxiety, disorders grounded in trauma, and more can make it hard to imagine that you could plan and enjoy a vacation. Instead, you might be doing all you can just to function effectively in your day to day life.
But help is available at Peak View Behavioral Health in beautiful Colorado Springs. We are ready to listen carefully and to create a personalized treatment plan that can help you achieve and maintain improvements in your mental health. When you are ready to get to work on your mental health, we are, too.