If you’re looking for motivation to get out of the office and on the road, science gives you the ultimate excuse. Research proves that just six days away from work triggers genetic changes that may help your immune system, sleep patterns and fitness levels, not to mention your mental health. How? Let’s take a look.
Just visualising and anticipating a holiday boosts mental wellbeing.
Planning a holiday increases overall wellbeing
Just the anticipation of a holiday can make you feel happier and healthier, according to a study by the University of Surrey. People surveyed were the happiest when a trip was on the near horizon, no doubt looking forward to cocktails by the pool.
Whether it’s a camping break or an African safari, having a sense of anticipation boosts motivation and helps you meet challenges head on. This, in turn, spills over into all areas of life, including health and productivity, to increase overall wellbeing.
Holiday activities encourage exercise, for better heart health.
Holidays reduce stress
A host of studies are available, revealing that holidays play a huge role in stress reduction. The obvious reason is that you’re away from chores, daily routines and deadlines, so your brain gets a break from the chaos of day to day life. The problem is, many of us see this as an escape route, rather than a solution - and opt to battle it out instead.
It pays to value the impact of removing yourself from your normal environment, in order to see the bigger picture. Generally, the issues you face before a holiday, seem a whole lot smaller when you’re floating in the water off the coast of Italy. Your emotions reset and your ability to deal with negativity gets a much needed boost.
Holidays decrease the risk of disease
Travelling encourages exercise routines that are much harder to stick to at home or in the office.
In terms of studies related to coronary heart disease and depression, results suggest that more holidays equal significantly reduced risk. Apart from the stress-busting benefits, travelling encourages exercise routines that are much harder to stick to at home or in the office.
For example, traipsing around European museums will see you do 10,000 steps a day, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef gets your heart rate going and sunny days surfing in tropical Bali are all the motivation you need, to get active in the great outdoors.
Holidays improve sleep patterns
Whether you often spend long nights in front of the computer or adjusting to shift work, lack of sleep means less focus, poor memory and an increased chance of mistakes and accidents. A relaxing break is the perfect time to reset sleep patterns, in order to ward off insomnia and exhaustion. On holiday you can go to bed when you like, knowing you don’t have to wake up to an alarm. This is a simple treat that goes a long way towards a peaceful and rejuvenating rest.
Whichever way you look at it, investing in a holiday benefits your health. So, when should you start planning? How about right now?
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.