Taking time for a holiday could save your life. Here's how
Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 1:30 PM - Between work, home and the hectic routine that is daily life, it's hard for many people to find the time and resources to take a proper vacation.
According to newly compiled research, not taking an annual holiday can be a detriment to your overall health and well-being.
For Canadian workers who fail to use a combined 41 million vacation days a year, this is troubling news.
A number of combined studies indicate that failure to give yourself a break at least once a year puts your physical and mental health at risk, and could effect how well you do your job.
Not convinced? Here are three areas that put the importance of a yearly vacation into perspective.
1. The benefits of a 'beach' body
Putting in some overtime might be great for the bank account, but it can take an awful toll on your body, especially your heart.
Twenty-six per cent of Canadians say the main reason they do not take vacation is because they cannot afford to take time off.
Most vacation days are taken during the summer months, when 40 per cent of Canadians spend more money than during any other season, according to the online poll of 1,500 Canadians.
But the option of planing a stay-cation could be one solution to putting your health before your wealth.
Working ten hours or more in a single day increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 40 per cent in both men and women, according to a summary of 50 years worth of research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Researchers suggest that there is a correlation between certain health problems and long exposure to the psychological stress found in the workplace.
An earlier study from 1991 involving 749 women over a 20-year period showed that female homemakers who only took vacation once every six years had twice the risk of developing heart attacks or fatal heart problems than those who took time off at least twice a year.
“Many employers are looking at putting together health and wellness programs, but vacation time is a health and wellness program that’s already in place,” says stress and wellness expert Beverly Beuermann-King.
Give your mind a break
There is no denying that long hours of grueling work often put our mental health to the test.
A study involving more than 2,000 people working as British civil servants found that instances of depression were more common among people who spend more than 11 hours a day at their jobs.
“Burnout is a major concern,” says Beuermann-King. “Some companies encourage people not to take vacation time, which in turn increases burnout, job turnover and in some cases injury.”
Time off from work, and an effort to unplug from the world of work communications and email, can do wonders for your state of mind.
While some people may be stressed out by the notion of missing work or feeling left out, it's important to keep in mind that research shows regular vacations lead to improved work performance and creativity.
An added bonus comes from another study which found that people who take regular holidays can help to boost the mental health of those around them.
Taking a vacation is good for your job -- and could help you get a raise
Putting in ample hours at the office doesn't necessarily equal productivity. In fact, it can often have the opposite effect.
After monitoring the workflow of thousands of people, researchers at Finnish Institute of Occupational Health/Centre of Expertise for Work Organizations found people who work a 55-hour week, as opposed to the standard 40-hour week, demonstrated lower cognitive functions, including poor vocabulary and reasoning.
Not exactly a model employee.
Resting the mind outside of work can ultimately benefit your performance once back in the office.
If a vacation isn't possible this very minute, small breaks throughout your shift are always a good idea. Past studies have shown employees approach a task with renewed focus and creativity after a brief period away from their work station.
In other words?
Do your heart, your mind and those around you a favour -- book some time off before the year is out.