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AMiable Solution #479: Stepping Back: The Importance of Taking a Break

If you’re reluctant to use those vacation days or know someone who is, check out this blog.

You probably already know that taking vacation time reduces stress, improves sleep, and boosts your mental health, but did you know that it also helps prolong your life?

In her May 23, 2021, article for Forbes, “Why Taking Vacation Time Could Save Your Life,” Caroline Castrillon reported some rather startling statistics:

  • 745,000 people died in 2016 from heart disease and stroke due to long work hours, according to a study by the World Health Organization

  • People who spent 55 hours or more a week at work were associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke than those who worked 35 to 40 hours a week

  • Those same hard-working employees were also credited with having a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease than their 35-40-hour week counterparts

If the idea of leaving your professional life behind still makes you cringe, we have good news for you: the experts at Columbia Regional Health in Indiana say you don’t have to take a week-long vacation to reap the benefits. In fact, taking day trips, mini-trips, and even staycations can help provide your mind and body with the necessary rest and reset you need to stay healthy and productive.

To maximize the benefits of your vacation, those same health experts suggest following three guidelines.

First, take time to relax and unwind. Building a busy schedule adds stress, it doesn’t relive it. Make sure you slow down and focus on spending time on the activities and with the people you care about.

Second, set boundaries. Your vacation time is vacation time. That means no checking emails, taking business calls, or getting distracted by other work-related tasks.

Finally, focus on the present. Leave the worries of work for another day. Take advantage of the time to focus on other things and to relax.

Have you made your plans yet?

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