Vacation days are good for your health

Taking your allotted vacation days from work could help you live longer.

There’s some good health news for you – taking a vacation could help you live longer. That’s according to a new 40-year study of 1,000 businessmen, who were at risk for heart disease.

Even those who improved their lifestyle with healthy habits were 37 percent more likely to die young if they took less than three weeks of vacation a year.

Experts say this shows a healthy lifestyle does not always compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays.

That being said, a new study by Project Time Off has uncovered an alarming trend – over the last 40 years, Americans are taking fewer vacation days.

But according to licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Lynell Rice Brinkworth, those allotted vacation days are an important component to mental health. Brinkworth says, “It creates more balance … I think people find, employers find, their employees take time off, they’re more productive, they are happier, make less mistakes at work. And that’s pretty critical in some career fields. So it’s a win-win for everybody.”

The study also showed that South Dakota employees use a national low of 4.3 of their vacation days actually traveling, and that employees who use their vacation days for travel are much happier than the ones who spend their days off close to home.

A stay-cation might be ideal for a short getaway, but staying close to home may end up being more work for others.

Rhonda Keller, AAA travel agent, says, “if you’re at home, you’re not on vacation. So you take those vacation days to stay home and to do projects, and you are more exhausted than if you actually took a vacation and actually went somewhere.”

Fifty-two percent of employees reported leaving vacation days unused at the end of the year. But why on earth wouldn’t someone use up paid vacation days?

Keller thinks that taking a vacation may be viewed as more work – as playing catch up when you return can be stressful.

“I think it has a lot to do with a great work ethic that we have in the Midwest. And nobody does your job as good as you do, so you think the whole place is going to fall apart if you’re not there.”

Keller also says that the fall season is the best time to travel for the best price, as kids are back in school and holiday travel hasn’t started.

Categories: Wellness Wednesdays