It’s that time of year again - springtime! The weather is starting to get warmer (or at least getting better!), and our thoughts turn to vacation planning. There's been much research done, and many articles written on the value of taking a vacation and its beneficial effects on work performance, relationships and overall well-being.
Unfortunately, many of us are not taking their vacation time. The U.S. Travel Association says 6 in 10 organizations report employees fail to use 3+ days of paid vacation each year. In case you were thinking of not using your vacation time this year, here’s a quick review of why you should.
- Vacationing improves health and well-being
It reduces stress and improves your health (maybe even preventing heart disease according to one study), makes us happier and more relaxed.
- After vacationing the effects at work are dramatic
It helps to prevent burn-out and enhances productivity and creativity, increases job satisfaction, and probably helps you to get along better with co-workers.
- Vacationing improves relationships with family and friends
Quality time spent with family and friends without distractions is priceless. The results are better relationships, the strengthening of family bonds, and the making of positive, lasting memories. You may even find out a few things you didn’t know about the other person!
Even Planning a Vacation Makes You Happier
A 2010 study by Dutch researchers, found that just planning a vacation boosts happiness. When you start to look at places you’d like to visit and all the things you want to do, it builds excitement and gives you something to look forward to. Include your spouse and children in the planning process to make everyone feel a part of the adventure.
Make Your Vacation Even More Valuable
You know how good it makes us feel to do something for someone else - to feel that we've made a positive difference. Many people are doing that by turning their vacation into a volunteer experience. Whether domestically or internationally, you can use your passions and skills to help build a house, teach a language, support children, get involved in a conservation or ecological project, provide health and agricultural support. There are several agencies that can team you with a project and a particular country. Not only are you giving to others, it’s a great way to see the world, understand the country and experience a culture unlike your own.