Are Vacations good for your soul?

Time off allows you to regain control of your mental and spiritual health while building relationships with family and friends.  As I am preparing for a weekend yocation with the fabulous Julie Dohrman in the Catskills region, I decided to do some research on the benefits of vacationing. 

Much has been written about the deadly effects of burnout, workplace stress, absenteeism, and even “presenteeism” or showing up for work but being so listless or sick as to be in effect present and absent at the same time. Cardiovascular disease and hypertension are aggravated by workplace stress. 

Indeed, vacations are more important than ever, as they allow you to regain control of your physical, mental and spiritual health, not to mention cement relationships with your family and friends. “Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle,” writes Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in Psychology Today

Not all vacations, however, are equally effective when it comes to inducing rest, relaxation, and refreshment. Here, Krauss Whitbourne provides her top very practical tips for a vacation that accomplishes all three:

1. Plan ahead. Do your online research and make sure you know what's available in your vacation destination and come up with an itinerary. Planning ahead will also minimize family stress.

2. Know your destination's rules and regulations. If abroad, know your country's safety rules and regulations. 

3. Don't feel bad because you're going on vacation. The point of a vacation is to rid yourself of as much guilt as possible. But if it really bothers you that, say, you can afford a holiday but a friend or colleague can't, you can elect to donate some of your travel budget to a charitable cause.

4. Head off email anxiety. If you are one of those people who hate coming home to hundreds or thousands of emails, allot yourself a small portion of each day to stopping at an internet café or having a peek at your laptop. 

5. Make your vacation a true adventure.  Research shows that an active vacation involving new challenges is the most beneficial. New activities will build new synapses and give you memorable, bonding experiences with your fellow vacationers. 

6. Pack smart. That means being prepared for sick, getting a sunburn, and losing your glasses. Leave enough extra room in your case for souvenirs, and buy them. 

Whether you are traveling far or planning a“stay-cation,” these tips will help you get the most rest and rejuvenation out of your holiday.

Posted on June 16, 2014 and filed under inspiration, Organization, Spirituality, wellness.