Special Report

12 Reasons Why You Should Take a Vacation for Your Health

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1. Give your back a break

It’s easy to feel as if you’re stuck in a rut when you work every day. And in certain ways, you may be right, as in our body mechanics on the job and while commuting. Sitting — at a workstation, on public transportation, or in the car — can stress the back and the neck and put pressure on the spine. Leaning forward while sitting — sound familiar? — increases stress on spinal discs. Your back will likely thank you if your vacation includes a change of position from the same ol’ same ol’.

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2. Eye strain

Let’s face it, most of us are in desperate need of a break from our screens. More than half the people who use computers on the job have at least some symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Yes, that’s a real thing. Constant refocusing, moving your eyes in the same (most likely screen-size) pattern, coping with flicker and glare, all can take their toll. Irritation, redness, blurred vision, and headaches are among the common symptoms of strained eyes. Eye drops and looking away from the screen every 20 minutes can offer some relief. But it surely wouldn’t hurt to spend some time staring into the distance at twinkling stars or rippling water.

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3. Healthy heart

Take heart — some medical research backs up your need to get away from the job. Two studies suggest a link between infrequent vacations and coronary heart disease mortality, largely because vacations removes ongoing stressors and anticipated threats and it offers an opportunity for social interactions with family and friends.

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4. Stress

Got stress? Back away from your desk! An American Psychological Association survey of workers in the United States found that going on a vacation helps the majority of respondents to recover from stress. The association has also reported on studies indicating that vacations can reduce the level of cortisol, the so-called stress hormone. And while on vacation do your best to shift to an out-of-the-office frame of mind and think about work as little as possible.

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5. Roll back burnout

The World Health Organization declared burnout syndrome an occupational phenomenon — a condition resulting from chronic and unmanaged workplace stress — this past spring, but chances are most people who work for a living are already familiar with the symptoms. You’re not alone if you’ve experienced feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from the job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to the job; and reduced professional efficacy. The good news is that using your vacation days can help you return to work feeling happier and more energized. For the best results, consider taking multiple vacations each year, even if some of them are shorties.

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