Everyone has had a tough few years, and things aren’t necessarily getting much easier. While there are certain events we can’t do much about, there are, at the same time, things we can do to make our lives better and reduce our stress levels.
Taking a vacation is one of those things.
Too often, people push off vacations or think they don’t have the time or money, and before they know it, years have gone by without one.
Whether you’re taking a family vacation to Branson, a couples trip to the Caribbean, or a cultural tour of a European country, there’s significant value to taking trips on a regular basis.
The following are seven of the most important reasons to think about planning a trip in 2022, no matter how close or far from home you go.
1. Traveling Is Good For Your Heart Health
Even a short weekend away can be good for your health. Taking regular vacations can help you live longer and improve your heart health.
Researchers found in one study that people who took three weeks of vacation a year or less had a 37% higher risk of death than people who took more than three weeks a year.
The lower risk of death is likely because taking time off reduces your stress. In this particular study, the men who researchers looked at with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than the people who took longer vacations.
Taking vacations has the potential to be as beneficial for you health-wise as a nutritious diet and getting physical activity.
In another study, women who took a vacation less than once every six years were more susceptible to a heart attack. A study from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found men with a high risk for coronary heart disease who take vacations were 32% less likely to die from heart disease and 21% less likely to die from any cause.
2. Helps You Professionally
One of the reasons that so many people are nervous about taking time off is because they’re worried it will impact their job. They might feel like they’ll be looked over for opportunities, or they’ll miss something important.
In reality, taking vacations can help you get ahead at work.
When people use their full vacation benefits, they have a 6.5% higher chance of getting a raise or promotion.
This is likely because going on vacation helps you relax, and that allows you to clear your mind and come back to work with more creativity. Taking vacations can also improve your productivity.
When you’re not taking time off, it leads to exhaustion, brain fog, and problems with decision-making.
It’s much better to take time off occasionally and return to work feeling positive and energized.
3. Reduce Stress
If your body is constantly burdened with stress, it may be impacting you in ways you don’t even realize. It creates mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Excessive, chronic stress can even cause inflammation and physical health issues like hormonal imbalance.
Vacation is a good way to take yourself outside of the environment that creates chronic stress and breaks that cycle.
4. You Have Something to Look Forward To
What’s great about investing in yourself in terms of a vacation is that it’s not just the time you spend away that’s valuable for your physical and mental health.
You’re getting perhaps months of enjoyment out of a single vacation, as you’re planning it and looking forward to it.
When you have something that you prepare for and that you look forward to, then you’re going to get through your difficult days with a little more ease. You might feel more enthusiasm for all areas of your life because you have something on the horizon that makes you feel happy.
You can also think about your work in a more positive light because you’re earning money to put toward something that you’re excited about.
5. Better Sense of Well-Being
A Gallup study found people who took regular trips scored better on an index of well-being. The study found people who reported always making time for regular trips had a 68.4 score on the Gallup-Heathway Well-Being Index, in comparison to a 51.4 Well-Being Score for people who took less frequent trips.
Other ways you can improve your well-being when traveling include the fact that you’re giving yourself permission to relax and get rid of potentially negative energy.
You can work on living in the moment rather than thinking about whatever might be waiting for you at home. If you are traveling and catch yourself coming out of the moment, you can pull yourself back into whatever it is you’re enjoying.
Taking trips is also the ideal time to work on practicing gratitude.
6. Stronger Relationships
Traveling is something you can share with other people, such as your spouse and children. When you’re outside of your typical environment and responsibilities, you can then begin to focus on spending time with people you care about.
You’re strengthening your bonds and also forming new memories through the experiences you share.
7. Traveling Is Good For Your Brain
When you travel, you give your brain a boost in different ways. First, any time you’re exposed to new environments, sceneries, and experiences, it’s going to help your brain form new connections.
Your brain can also take time off from the stress of your daily life. Your most creative ideas and problem-solving skills may emerge from giving your brain a rest.
Most successful people find some of their best insight and ideas come from the times they spend away from their actual job.
If you’re on the fence about planning a trip in 2022, go ahead and take the leap. When you plan a trip, you can experience so many benefits, and it’s well worth the time and money you invest in traveling because, ultimately, you’re investing in yourself.