When someone says, “Vacation,” what do you think of?  The more obvious answers might include tropical beaches, luxury cruises, living large and perhaps exotic foods or experiences. But if you’re like most people in America today, your first reaction is more likely to be “Yeah - I wish!”

Vacations in Decline

A recent survey has shown that vacations are, on average, a declining activity. In fact, recent surveys show that the average U.S. Employee today only takes half of his or her available vacation time.

Of those who did go on vacation, over half claimed to spend some of their vacation time doing work - and 20 percent said they were contacted by a supervisor or manager during their time off, about work.

Vacation Improves Creativity & Innovation

Ever notice that getting up and walking around can help you think more clearly? Moving around improves your circulation and oxygen levels, allowing your mind to function more efficiently - but that’s not the only reason. It’s also about changing your perspective.

Getting completely away from the familiar environments of home and work - even your city or state - can show you new perspectives that you might not have otherwise realized. Going somewhere new and different helps you break free of mental entanglements and look at problems or challenges in, quite literally, a different light.

A change of pace and scenery can also be essential recharge and recovery time for those who work in positions that require constant creativity and innovation. Over time the mind will burn out and lose traction. Taking a break to completely unplug and get away offers vital rest, and just like a good long night’s sleep can result in an energetic next day, taking a break from the pressure of pushing the envelope that result in significantly better ideas and inspirations when you return.

Vacation Inspires Productivity

The need for down-time doesn’t just affect those in creative professions. There’s a reason many big corporations have to block websites like YouTube and Flickr. Over time, a constant workload leads to fatigue and burn-out. Even the most dedicated employees will eventually check out mentally despite taking up a chair at the workplace. 

On the flip side, surveys show that over a third of those respondents who took time off felt better about their jobs, and saw a positive increase in productivity upon returning home.

Vacation Benefits Your Health

Mental Benefits

If taking time away from home and work to recharge and recover shows such positive impact on your productivity and creativity at work, it should come as no surprise that they come with a direct improvement to your mental health. Many studies have been done on the mental effects of taking time off. A study by Marshfield Clinic showed that vacationing at least once every two years decreased cases of depression among participants. A University of Pittsburg study echoed these results, and also indicated improved emotional levels across the board. Further studies have tied vacation frequency with lowered stress levels.

Physical Benefits

It’s not just your mind that benefits from a change of pace and time off. There are some distinct physical benefits as well. With lowered stress comes improved immune response and lowered blood pressure – the latter being a major factor in your risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

There is a caveat, however – in addition to relaxing and letting go of stress, many vacationers also let go of their diet and exercise routines as well. While the effects of this aren’t typically significant over a single week timeframe, there are ways you can rest and recharge your mind while also improving your physical health and recharging your body. 

It probably goes without saying that this is one of our specialties at CFS.

Fitness Vacations and Fitness Retreats are an increasingly popular way to reap the benefits of improving your mental AND physical health simultaneously. It's a powerful combination that will improve your well-being and add years to your life – and it's a lot of fun, too!

So... Get Up and Go Somewhere!

At the end of the day, regardless of your profession or industry or how you spend your time each day – taking at least one annual vacation is a sure fire way to improve your daily life all the rest of the year.

Where you go and how much you choose to improve upon your life? That’s up to you!