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Getting Away

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Get Away From It All

Ah, the work week. Hitting up the gym for a morning boost of pep-in-your-step, fueling up on coffee or favorite wellness shot, answering emails before you even get to the office, and going non-stop until you get home again to be with your family before you do it all again. Some love it, thrive on it even. Others may be running on fumes and, even if they love their jobs, find that this daily level of high performance is wearing them down. Either way, the human mind was not made to function 24/7 in a constantly busy and engaged state! There are plenty of reasons why it’s important for your mental and physical health to take a break once in a while. Yes, that means you! Exhaustion makes us less effective and more likely to be distracted, lose our passion for the job, and even more prone to making mistakes. There may be staffing shortages, or business is booming, or it’s too hard to coordinate coverage while you’re away. But don’t let those things get in the way of you protecting your own health!

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes - including you.”

-Anne Lamott

Take it Easy

Vacations: Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways! Let’s get the obvious ones out of the way first. As you can guess, being away from the stress of daily life can help the following:

  • Lower cortisol levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased mental clarity and focus


The list goes on. But there are a few interesting points to make that could close the deal for you. Usually, we go on vacations that are somewhere new, a place we’ve never been to, but always wanted to. Or if it’s the same destination every year, it’s still outside of your normal day-to-day environments. This means you can’t just go through the motions and coast through your day like normal. Wake-up, gym, coffee, office, clients/patients, commute, home. Instead, your mind wakes up. It doesn’t know what to expect at every moment, so it has to increase your awareness of your surroundings and the experiences in each moment. This boost of mindfulness, along with the other benefits listed, can be seen to still have effects as long as 5 weeks after the vacation. 


Another point to consider is that your body and mind cannot get the rest they need to recharge and heal while they remain in a stressful environment.  That’s like taking a deep breathe, squinting your eyes and telling yourself not to be afraid while watching a scary movie- a little pointless and probably not effective! Once you’ve had some R&R, your body can start really unwinding, letting go and can begin to soak in the benefits.


Having something on your calendar to look forward to shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Even if you haven’t actually taken the vacation yet, just knowing that it’s coming has been shown to increase tolerance to stress and increase happiness for up to 8 weeks before. That means you can reap all the benefits of one vacation from up to 8 weeks before, to about 5 weeks after. That’s quite a lot of bang for your buck!  And don’t worry… even if you’re only able to manage a little in-town staycation or long week, research has shown that these benefits are still present. 


Go the Extra Mile

If you want an even more enriching vacation experience, there are a couple more luxuries you can add to your package. We’ve talked about getting away to somewhere new, out of the norm, to shake up and wake up our brains. Taking that a step further - try another country. When we go to other countries, it is not only a new environment, but also a new culture, new food, new fragrances, new architectural styles, new mannerisms, new values and points of view, new languages. With so much going on, you will definitely find your mindfulness increasing as you immerse yourself into each new experience.

Best yet, wherever you go, go with somebody! Vacationing with someone is one of the best ways to make meaningful connections. It’s been said that at end of life, something that becomes most important are memories of one’s moments of connections throughout life. What better way to make these connections than having fun and relaxing with people who matter to you. It’s hard to create these moments at work, although not impossible. So if you want to enrich your current life and ensure that you have amazing memories to look back on later, vacation more!


Smooth Sailing

To get the most of these benefits, especially those that are heart-health related, plan to vacation no less than every 2 years. A couple times a year is ideal, even if you can only manage to get away for a handful of long weekends. The point is to be consistent and stay ahead of your body’s empty gas tank.  Since you can experience the benefits of a vacation 8 weeks before and 5 weeks after, then taking just a few getaways a year (big or small), means that you should be able to stay healthy, focused and happy all year long.  Now start brainstorming your dream vacation!

**Additional Resources


7 Reasons Why Vacation is Important | Benefits of Taking a Vacation (

5 Health Benefits to Taking a Vacation | Travel + Leisure (

Why Taking Vacation Time Could Save Your Life (


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