Take a Vacation for Your Health

August 21, 2020 | Health | Cindy Williams

Did you know that surveys have shown that only 25% of Americans take all of their paid vacation days each year? One even showed that 42% don’t take any of their paid leave. In addition, 61% of people surveyed worked while on vacation.

As I write this, we are finalizing plans and packing for vacation. It won’t be the vacation we have planned and saved for over the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to plans to visit our family in Hong Kong. Nonetheless it will be a much-needed break from work and the routine at home.

There are significant benefits from taking a vacation — for you and for your employer. Research shows employers benefit from increased productivity, better workplace morale, increased employee retention and better employee health. The benefits for the employee include reduced stress, decreased risk of death from heart disease, improved mental health and improved relationships.

One study found men who took frequent annual vacations were 32% less likely to die from heart disease than their counterparts who chose not to vacation. The Framingham Study found women who took vacations once every six years or less were almost eight times as likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack than women who took at least two vacations a year.

A study conducted by Purdue University found vacationing with your family contributes positively to the relationships and to the feeling of well-being. I won’t be taking any work with me on our vacation this year. It’s too heavy to carry in my backpack, and my brain and body need a break! I hope you are making plans to make some memories with your family this summer.

This article is part of a continuing series on health by the Upper Columbia Conference health ministries department. For more articles, see the website at uccsda.org.