Benefits of taking a vacation

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – What one little thing can achieve so many health and well-being goals from reducing stress to strengthening family relationships — even improving your job performance? The answer is: a vacation. Dr. Stuart Anfang, Medical Director of Adult Outpatient Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center joined us to share more.

Consider the following:
Go camping
Visit a nearby lake to cool off and relax
Spend a day at a city or state park where there are often activities such as picnicking, swimming and more
Take day trips
Enjoy a “staycation” by hanging out in your own backyard next to your pool or lounging in a hammock and reading a good book.

If only Americans could take a hint from Europeans who rarely miss the chance for a relaxing vacation, averaging 25-30 vacation days from work each year and managing to use most of those days. But, a new survey by Robert Half – a specialized staffing firm based out of Menlo Park, Calif. – shows 39 percent of workers this year won’t use all of the paid vacation time they’ve earned. Among those surveyed, 38 percent cited they are saving days in case they need them, while 30 percent are afraid of falling behind on the job.

“We know that adequate rest and relaxation are essential for good mental and physical health,” said Dr. Stuart Anfang, medical director of Adult Outpatient Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center. “Time off allows you to recharge, to reconnect with family and friends, and to refresh your mind and body.”

For example, a survey several years ago by the Mind Body Center at the University of Pittsburgh, concluded that leisure time activities, such as taking a vacation, resulted in higher positive emotional levels and less depression among the 1,399 participants, who had been recruited for studies on cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and other diseases. Additional benefits included lower blood pressure and smaller waistlines.


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