Why Vacation Time is Essential in 2016
By Nigel G. Worrall
New Year’s Eve is upon us and it’s a time for reflection as well as planning for the New Year ahead. One of the things you maybe looking forward to in 2016 is more vacation time but sadly, many people have this on their list of priorities and then they let it slip.
Making time for regular trips or vacations with family and friends is linked to higher overall well-being claims a new Gallup poll released yesterday but sadly, many U.S. employees find it difficult to do. Only 51% of employees take their eligible vacation time. At the latter end of 2014, Visit Florida, the State’s marketing body, launched a specific marketing campaign tackling this issue calling it “One More Day.”
The idea behind it was to get visitors thinking about extending their Florida vacation by a few hours. A few hours that make a huge difference in a person’s routine as they relax just a little bit longer from the stresses of everyday life.
It is important to take regular breaks from work / stress and those that are fortunate to do so have been found to have a significantly higher well being than those who do not. In fact, an interesting study in Wisconsin showed lower levels of tension and depression among women who took vacations more frequently (once or twice a year) versus those who vacationed less often. Interestingly, it turns out that even simply anticipating a vacation is a mood booster as the human mind looks forward to days of relaxation and being away with loved ones.
It’s now been proven that allowing your brain to day-dream allows you to better solve problems and be more creative. Your brain operates on two levels: One side is task-focused and the other side is focused on letting your mind wander and daydream. As you can imagine, a hard worker is pretty much always in the task-focused mode, overworking the brain to stay engaged on something that must be finished, all the while taking in an overload of information equivalent to 174 newspapers worth of information everyday!
The Gallup poll is revealing as it shows results that reflect that those who earn less than $24,000 annually and say they take regular trips actually have higher well-being (scoring 66.3) than those who earn $120,000 or more but say they don’t regularly make time for vacations (55.1). That’s an interesting conclusion as most polls focus on life expectancy as well as a lower risk of obesity.
As far as vacations go, it seems that the more the merrier is the order of the day. A study completed in Rotterdam in 2010 found that among approximately 1,500 Dutch adults in which 974 took a vacation, those who took time off were happier than those who did not. They also showed signs of slightly increased happiness for two weeks after they returned from vacation. So, the trick for success, says the study’s leader, Jeroen Nawijn, seems to be taking two or more short breaks spread out in the year rather than one massive vacation.
Another survey carried out by job recruiters at Korn/Ferry International discovered that 84% of some 250 executives have canceled a vacation due to work pressure. If only they’d realised that by taking a vacation they would come back with a more creative mind and would be able to think about the long term future of the company in a better way!
All of this means that vacation time isn’t just good for employees, it can be good for employers, too. Besides the health cost benefits, encouraging workers to actually use their vacation days can decrease burnout rates and increase employee retention.
So for 2016, let’s all resist the urge to remain tethered to our desks and instead, make vacation a big priority. A vacation really can be the pause that refreshes especially if you spend it disconnected from electronic devices and catching up on much needed sleep.
A break in Orlando at a Florida Leisure vacation home is the perfect tonic for plenty of rest and play…so why not pay us a visit or two sometime in the New Year? We look forward to seeing you!
Happy New Year!