According to Glassdoor's Q1 2014 Employment Confidence Survey, the average U.S. employee only takes half of his or her eligible vacation time. While taking a vacation and actually using up all your days off might seem like an unnecessary luxury that falls to the bottom of your priority list, a getaway is actually more necessary for your health and wellness routine than you think!
If you're worried that no one else will be able to handle your daily tasks at work, or the thought of the pile of work that will be left on your desk when you come back is giving you major anxiety, this is just further proof you need a break from the daily demands of your life.
Ernest & Young, an accounting firm, did an internal study of its employees in 2006 that found for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors improved by 8%. Why? A well rested and rejuvenated mind is often more effective and has improved intellectual functioning.
As demonstrated by several studies, vacations are certainly known for reducing stress. What we tend to forget is that by reducing stress, we also reduce the risk for several health conditions like headaches, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and immune system distress. Blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of epinephrine – a stress hormone – tend to decline after only one or two days away.
Plus, a vacation also gives you the opportunity to catch up on both sleep and exercise!
Vacations can strengthen relationships in two ways: 1) by giving your family the opportunity to spend time together outside of your normal, most likely stressful, daily routine, or 2) giving you a much needed break to rejuvenate and refresh from your responsibilities within your family dynamic - let's face it, we all need time away from our loved ones sometimes. In a previous study, 53% of Americans said they come back feeling reconnected with their family after vacation.
It doesn't need to be 3 plane rides south in the Caribbean or a 2 week road trip across the country. Just planning a few nights away where you can leave your worries behind will do the trick! AND it's not just the time away that's beneficial. Having something to look forward to is incredibly rewarding and you can feel the planning effects up to 8 weeks before your trip!
Part of living #TheLucyLife is exploration, travel adventures, and embracing your inner wanderluster alongside of being the happiest, healthiest version of you! But, it's hard enough to get to the gym and eat healthy when at home, let alone on the road - regardless of if you're traveling for work or pleasure. Either way, traveling is not a sufficient excuse for slacking on your health and fitness goals! Here's a few super simple tips on staying fit no matter where life takes you!
No hotel gym? No problem! Workout right in your room before you go anywhere (because it's a lot easier to blow it off later when you don't know what the rest of your day may bring). There are plenty of apps, websites, and YouTube channels out there for you to explore. If you don't know where to start, head back to the basics. There's nothing wrong with conventional burpees, jumping jacks, crunches, planks, and push-ups! Or pick a few from this list of 50 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere.
Pack a water bottle and take it with you literally everywhere. Airplanes, road trips, and going off road of your typical schedule all play a larger role in dehydration than you may think. Not only does being dehydrated leave you feeling sluggish, but it also affects your body's ability to burn fat.
One of the best parts of traveling is trying all the local food. There's no need to stop that, just be mindful about it. Control your portions and track what you're eating along with the physical activity you're doing (we love myfitnesspal for this). It's a lot easier to stop overindulging in it's tracks when you can see the numbers. Over your goal by the end of the day? Try taking a walk after dinner or going for a late night swim - anything to get you moving! Even things like taking the stairs can add up extra calories burned throughout the day!
When traveling, you often don't know when your next meal will be. And if you're traveling with others, we all know it can take a few hours to decide on where to go. Make it easier on yourself and be always prepared to combat hunger. Granola bars, nuts, and dry fruit are great options that won't get smushed hanging out in your bag throughout the day.