Holidays are one of the few opportunities we have to reset and recharge, allowing us to return to real life feeling refreshed. Here, we explore four proven health benefits of holidays, and how your next beach break is so much more than just a chance to top up your tan.
The science on the importance of rest
According to the World Health Organization, long working hours are taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people a year. And the effects of Covid on work-life balance may have worsened this trend.
The report showed that a 55 hour work week can increase the chances of stroke and the risk of death from heart disease when compared to a standard 35 – 40 hour work week.
And if you need even more reasons to take some time off for a holiday, here are four scientifically proven health benefits to jetting off.
#1: Taking shorter holidays more often could reduce your chances of heart disease
The idea of taking two or three weeks off work might spark more dread than comfort. Put off by the thought of returning to a mountain of emails, it might be tempting to think, ‘now’s just not a good time.’
According to psychology studies, time off doesn’t need to be lengthy to make a difference. Taking shorter holidays more often could improve your health compared to one bumper holiday.
So, if you’re choosing between that three-week road trip in the US versus four week-long holidays in Europe, it might be better for your health to take shorter trips more often.
#2: Holidays give you a chance to unplug
Phones and laptops keep us wired to work at all hours of the day. And if we let it, keeps us tethered to the stresses associated with it.
These devices make it difficult for us in the modern world to detach. Some studies suggest that those who worry about work after hours have lower recovery rates than those who don’t.
The key takeaway? Don’t check your emails on holiday. And leave your work laptop at home.
#3: Holidays give you time to catch up on sleep
The biggest difference between working and holiday is the amount of sleep you have. Lie ins become the norm. Naps in the deck chair come as standard. And if you’re visiting Spain, perhaps you’ll even squeeze in a siesta.
A study by NASA’s Ames Research Centre looked at the effects of strategic napping on crews flying across the Pacific. Those who’d napped stayed wide awake, while those who hadn’t were fighting the urge to fall asleep an average of 22 times.
So if you find yourself attempting to ‘power through’ a particularly difficult period at work, take some time off!
Tip #4: Holidays abroad boost creative thinking
For those who do creative work for a living, creativity is a currency. That’s why those working at the top of their industries see time off as an essential feature of their working lives.
Designer Stegan Sagmeister shuts shop religiously every seven years and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates takes two week-long ‘reading weeks’ every year.
While many of us aren’t quite lucky enough to take six months off each year, simply choosing Marrakech over Milan might be just the thing to knock you out of a creative rut.
And if you need some help deciding where to go, your choices are endless with Thomas Cook. Just head over to www.thomascook.com and book that much-need holiday with low deposits starting from as little as £39pp.