8 Reasons Why Vacation Is Vital For Wellbeing
I have missed being with you guys! This past month I’ve taken time away with my husband to travel, to rest, to pray, to play, and to dream. As good and as needful as my time away was, I am so excited to be back and have the opportunity to share with you. I continue to pray over each of you on your journey.
As always, I ask for your prayers that God would give His leadership, His vision, and His words that will equip and empower each of us emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. If you have any questions you would like answered, or topics you would love to see covered, please reach out– I’d love to hear from you!
I just returned from a lovely time away with my husband for some much-needed rest. Everyone has a different idea of vacation. Some like the beach. Others delight in adventure. I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to travel. I love old things —old cobblestone streets, historic architecture. Gothic arches make me happy. Show me a quatrefoil and I become downright giddy. Great food, great experiences fill my heart to the brim and refresh a sometimes parched and tired spirit.
While we were away, I could feel my heart rate slow. I could sense my body relaxing. I slept more than usual and had more than my share of pastries and coffee.
What I discovered was that the longer I went without emails, phone calls, work, etc., the dust began to settle in my heart and mind, and I could once again enjoy the presence of each moment. No need to worry about the next moment. I discovered connection and play with my husband that was both deep and refreshing. I sat in awe as I gazed upon God’s handiwork all around me.
I am more convinced than ever how important vacation is to everyone’s overall wellbeing. We all run at frantic paces, we all exist on an information overload. We all suffer from rest depravation, and we wonder why our hearts ache with restlessness and overwhelm.
Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. _Charles Spurgeon
Whether it is 10 miles down the road or 10 hours around the globe, it doesn’t matter! Here are 8 reasons why vacation is vital for your overall wellbeing.
1. Vacation reduces stress.
A study released by the American Psychological Association concluded that vacations work to reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety. The effects last beyond the duration of the vacation, too: one study found that after taking time off from work, vacationers had fewer stress-related physical complaints such as headaches, backaches, and heart irregularities, and they still felt better five weeks later.
We were wired to exhale, yet exhales are at times too few and too far apart. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies need to fast doing and allow ourselves to be. The benefits are self-evident. CLICK TO TWEET
Psalm 127:2 (NIV) shares, In vain you rise earlyand stay up late,toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep tothose he loves.
2. Vacation helps prevent heart disease.
A host of studies have highlighted the cardiovascular health benefits of taking a vacation. In one, men at risk for heart disease who skipped vacations for five consecutive years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least a week off each year. Even missing one year's vacation was associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Studies find similar results with women: Women who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop heart disease, have a heart attack, or die of a coronary-related cause than those who took at least two vacations a year.
We might not be able to take expensive or extensive vacations per year, but we can be intentional with finding small ways to step away from our lives and rest. Perhaps finding a favorite place to hike, or an overnight visit to a nearby state park. Getting lost in a museum, or in a favorite book —all of these things bring rest.
Mark 2:21 (NIV) offers, Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
3. Vacation improves focus and/or productivity.
In our perpetual rush to be productive, we often undermine our very ability to consistently perform at peak levels. Professional services firm Ernst & Young conducted an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation time employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8 percent. What's more, frequent vacationers were significantly less likely to leave the firm.
When we are rested, we are more productive, we're happier, and when we're happier, we tend to excel at what we do.
Mark 6:32 (NIV) adds, So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV) declares, By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
4. Vacation brings better sleep.
Restless nights and sleep disturbances are common complaints--often stemming from the fact that we simply have too much on our minds. When we can't stop the internal chatter it affects our sleep, and a lack of sleep leads to less focus, less alertness, impaired memory, an increased likelihood of accidents and a decreased quality of life. Researchers say that vacations can help interrupt the habits that disrupt sleep, like working late into the night or watching a backlit screen before bed.
If you have stress from work and you find your sleep is disrupted because of anxiety or tension, take time off and learn to reset your sleep pattern.
Psalm 4:8 (NIV) teaches, In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
5. Vacation improves mental health.
Neuroscientists have found that brain structure is altered by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which can be a major contributing factor to anxiety and depression. Feelings of calm arise from time away from work and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn't if it were still under pressure.
Step away. Learn to release. Let go. Though it may not come easily, these are skills that we can bring from vacation into the rest of our lives. It will bring the balance and equilibrium you desire.
Mark 6:31b (NIV) encourages us, He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
6. Vacation leads to greater well-being.
According to a Gallup study, people who make time for regular trips had a 68.4 score on the Gallup-Heathway's Well-Being Index, in comparison to a 51.4 Well-Being score for less frequent travelers. One study found that three days after vacation, subjects' physical complaints, quality of sleep, and mood had improved as compared to before vacation. These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacation.
Psalm 127:2 tells us, It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.
7. Vacation nurtures marriages.
Couples who travel together have healthier, happier relationships compared to those who do not, according to a survey from the U.S. Travel Association. Couples in a romantic relationship report traveling together makes them significantly more likely to be satisfied in their relationships, communicate well with their partners, enjoy more romance, have a better sex life, spend quality time together and share common goals and desires.
Take a road trip, get lost together. Try something brand new. No need for a huge budget. Just laugh. Love. Dream. Travel takes us away from everything that threatens to pull us apart and helps us find our way back to each other. Rest is where we can listen to our heartbeat, where we can dream again, risk again, perhaps even love again. CLICK TO TWEET
Song of Solomon 2:10 (ESV) shares, My beloved speaks and says to me, “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” CLICK TO TWEET
8. Improved familial relationships.
The benefits of vacations extend to family relationships. An international group of researchers led by Purdue University concluded that family vacations contribute positively to family bonding, communication and solidarity. Vacations promote what is called the ‘crescive bond’or shared experience by fostering deep and enduring connections. Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities help to promote these positive ties.
Exodus 20:9-10 (NIV) shares, Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.
Vacation doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. Please hear me when I say that it doesn’t have to be a bucket-list destination in order to be beneficial. It just needs to involve disconnecting in both small ways and sometimes bigger ways from the pressures, the stresses, and demands that our normal schedules bring. It means focusing on quiet, on rest, on connection —whether it is connection with God, connection with ourselves, or connection with our loved ones.
What is your favorite way to unplug and get away from the pressures of life?
What is your favorite vacation memory from your family?
About This Community
Don't we all want a little peace? My heart for this community is to provide just that - a needed refuge from all the burdens that weigh us down, some encouragement and inspiration to keep us weary travelers moving forward on our journeys, and some practical advice to help each of us navigate the challenges of life and relationships. Whether in our parenting, our marriages, our faith, or the broken places in our hearts, this place is for anyone who dares to reach beyond the hopelessness that surrounds us and embrace a lifestyle of emotional abundance and peace!
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I've discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with myself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891