Do you want to have a heart attack? Absolutely not, right? But that is exactly what you are asking for if you decide that you are too busy to take vacation! No joke. One study found that men at high risk for coronary heart disease, and who failed to take annual vacations, were 32% more susceptible to dying from a heart attack. Another study determined that women who do not vacation annually are almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack. And in Framingham Heart Study, which scientists have been dissecting for years to understand what contributes to our well-being, more than 12,000 men who were at risk of heart disease were followed over nine years to see if there were ways to improve their longevity. Among the questions they were asked annually was about vacations. Guess what they discovered? According to researchers, “The more frequent the vacations, the longer the men lived”. Who doesn’t love vacations? And now, it turns out that they are good for your heart as well.
And here is a fact to share with any bosses out there who might not want to give paid vacation time: The US is the only advanced economy with no national vacation policy. (Unless you count Suriname, Nepal and Guyana.) And this is just bad business because studies prove that taking a vacation can have a profound effect on productivity. First, vacation deprivation increases mistakes and resentment. Additionally, a 2010 study found that Americans feel better about their job and are more productive after a vacation. Vacations help us to recharge and our brain responses become quicker after vacations.
However, if you go away, you need to unplug from work. We are talking about turning off those cell phones and computers. That may sound scary at first, but if you don’t unplug your heart rate stays elevated as your body stays “on alert” and you lose out on the healthy benefits of vacationing. This means that the “working vacation” is really an oxymoron. Research indicates a direct correlation between the number of hours an individual works during their vacation and the level of health and wellness they feel when they return.
Finally, getting away is good for your mood and your marriage. A study conducted among 1,500 women in Wisconsin found that those who take vacations twice a year or more were less likely to become agitated, depressed or exhausted compared to those who took vacations once every two years. In addition, the odds of marital satisfaction decreased as the frequency of vacations decreased. So there you have it—you need to book a trip, get out of town, and unplug with your spouse.
But, where should you go? Well, recently we were faced with that exact question. If you know us well, you know that we are total researchers. When looking for a trip we read every review out there and researched every last detail about each option we were considering. Having lived on the ship for seven years, we know that cruising really suits us. And we really needed to chill out after finishing our newest book The Micronutrient Miracle 28-day Plan, so we thought a Caribbean cruise would be just the thing. We found the perfect trip and in the next blog we will share with you exactly where we went and the incredible vacation that we were lucky to share with each other.
Something amazing happened while we were away! The unplugged vacation did the trick. We did come back refreshed. We enjoyed romance, activity, adventure and luxury. And now we are well rested, ready to work hard, and to be creative. Not only was it good for us physically but mentally a well. What are you waiting for? Don’t turn down your days off ever again. Spend times with those you love while keeping your heart healthy for years to come!