Nine Reasons Why Your Physical and Mental Health Need a Vacation

And it’s not just us saying so… it is proven by science.

Vacations reduce stress
Think back to a time when you’ve let yourself completely switch off from work. You feel far more relaxed and removed from the pressure of workloads. Taking some time to unplug, unwind, and mentally disengage from your job is essential to your well-being. Many employees show improved stress levels over a month after returning from a break away from work.
Vida Nova Retreat, Hout Bay, South Africa
However, it’s important to add that poorly planned and stressful vacations eradicate the advantages of time away. This is why, at Fire Island Eco Retreats, we have a dedicated travel team that can plan and book every aspect of your time away, so that all you need to do is hop on the plane, sit back, and enjoy the moments.
For those in related roles, you’ll likely see a boost in your creative processes when you return to work after a vacation. Leisure time is always rewarding, but the benefits of a longer break from work are even more valuable to your psychosocial health. And your psychosocial well-being is highly linked to your ability to be creative.
Machangulo, Mozambique
Think about the number of times you’ve had a mental block. Taking even just a short break helps you to refocus. And a long break gives you an opportunity for new experiences that can unlock your creative juices. Two out of three US executives believe that vacations increase creativity, as reported by the U.S. Travel Association. If you have the opportunity to experience exciting and challenging activities during your vacation, it can really boost your well-being, since mastery experiences are significantly related to creativity.
There is a vital need for recovery from the strain of work to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. In a study carried out by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University, they discovered that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were almost a third more likely to have heart attacks than those who did.
The Monarch, Machangulo, Mozambique
One medical study has proven that taking a vacation can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. The research shows that vacation frequency may protect against metabolic syndrome and symptoms. In other words, taking a break to travel can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other major health problems.
Your quality of life is essential to your mental health. And what really helps to improve your quality of life? Experiences. Leisure activities can really boost your positive emotions, help you build social relationships, and, of course, benefit you by enhancing your skills and knowledge.
Machangulo, Mozambique

According to a study by Psychological Science, experiences far outweigh material goods in terms of your mental well-being. You can fill up your weekends with short leisure activities, but nothing beats new experiences in far-off new places to promote happiness. Even the build-up to a vacation bestows you with more happiness than awaiting delivery of something material.

 

Travelling is even proven to lower your risk of deterioration in cognitive function. As published by Journal of the American Geriatrics Society “Regular participation in social or leisure activities such as traveling, odd jobs, knitting, or gardening were associated with a lower risk of subsequent dementia.”

 

Being near water on your vacation has even greater mental health benefits. Blue Mind science was first publicised in a book by marine biologist Dr. Wallace Nichols in 2014 and reveals that “there are numerous cognitive and emotional benefits that we derive every time we spend time by water, in water or underwater.”

Machangulo, Mozambique
Overall, travelling contributes to higher positive emotional levels and less depression. Definitely a good reason to start planning your next vacay.
If the idea of sitting by the pool, sipping on cocktails, tickles your fancy, then you’ll likely be absorbing some essential vitamin D from the sun.
Machangulo, Mozambique

Sunlight can actually improve your immune system by boosting your T-lymphocytes. These T-cells attack infectious microorganisms and other foreign substances and as little as 5-10 minutes of sun exposure can boost the effectiveness of these cells.

 

In this instance, sunshine is a beneficial factor in cancer prevention, when it activates the immune system to work against rogue cells, like cancer cells. Of course, using a broad-spectrum, high-factor sunscreen is fundamental to avoiding skin cancers.

 

If you suffer from hypertension, Vitamin D from sunlight can also help to significantly lower your blood pressure.

Ilha do Fogo, Mozambique
Sleep is vital to every system in your body. Without sleep, we cannot function. Stress at work can interrupt our sleep patterns, especially when we have a deadline or other anxieties that keep us awake at night.
Kilima Sanctuary, Mozambique

When you sleep, your body gets a chance to repair cells and regenerate your brain. This crucial process is what maintains both our minds and bodies, and helps improve our immune systems.

 

Getting away from work and completely unplugging will give you an opportunity to get some much-needed sleep. The decreased cortisol levels you can achieve through more sleep can help you improve your weight, energy levels, wound healing, and elevate your mood. The latter is because sleep helps optimise your levels of serotonin, the mood balancer, and dopamine, which gives you a feel-good factor.

You might think that this benefits your boss more than it benefits you, but in actual fact, when you’re more productive at work, it improves your overall mental health. So it’s a win-win for both you and your employer.

 

Many companies find that high-level professionals who are required to take time off are significantly more productive overall than those who spend more time working. Luxembourg and Ireland are two of the world’s most productive countries and both of these countries have mandated more than 30 days of vacation.

Vida Nova Kruger, South Africa
In 2018, US workers left 768 million days unused, and out of those days, 236 million were forfeited completely. This equates to a massive $65.5 billion in lost benefits to employees… and essentially billions in the employers’ pockets.

You may think that being a work masochist will make you more successful in the workplace. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. According to Harvard Business Review, “People who took fewer than 10 of their vacation days per year had a 34.6% likelihood of receiving a raise or bonus in a three-year period of time. People who took more than 10 of their vacation days had a 65.4% chance of receiving a raise or bonus.”

If all of the above reasons haven’t been enough to make you want to put your leave in, then maybe the idea of a vacation that doesn’t just benefit you, but benefits others, is the decision-maker.

 

Booking a vacation at an eco-retreat is a way that you can experience all the benefits of travelling while keeping your carbon footprint low and promoting sustainability. At Fire Island Eco Retreats, our ethos ensures that when you book with us, you help to improve both the environment and impoverished communities.

Marloth Park (Kruger), South Africa

Each of our properties is located in a nature-abundant protected area, that offers sanctuary to a wide variety of biodiversity. When you take a vacation in such places, you contribute to their success.

 

Spending time in nature is also a great way to improve your mental and physical health. Many studies show how time in nature can improve your memory, lower stress, boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, help you focus, and combat depression.

Cape Town, South Africa

Experiencing a vacation that improves the lives of people or animals that need help, really can be life-changing.

Browse our portfolio of eco retreats and activities across Southern Africa, and beyond.

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