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Why Vacation? Because Science.


Fewer American workers are taking even fewer vacations. Are you one of these unfortunate folks? But why? Many Americans work too much and sit in front of the TV for far too long. For your own good, and for the good of your work, your friends, and your family... please, please take a vacation.

Soak in the following reasons why taking a vacation is good for you. Oh by the way, tell your boss that taking a vacation will make you better at your job too.

1. Are you oblivious to your body telling you to take a break?

Are you on your 7th cup of coffee, daydreaming, lethargic, creatively blocked, headaches, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia...? You could be suffering from BRS, Boring Repetitive Syndrome[1]. You need to break up the routine that your brain has gotten so used to doing; day in and day out.

Ever heard of Neuroplasticity? Neuroplasticity is the ability your brain has to continue forming new connections and pathways, even into adulthood. But this happens when you continue to make new connections between new experiences and new ideas. It’s more than just a metaphor, it’s your brain literally restructuring itself to make use of this new stimuli.

Even the time before and after a vacation stimulates your mind and body because of the wild anticipation and excitement involved before a vacation and after returning from the vacation the elation sustains.

2. A quiet mind is a creative mind.

Even when relaxed, it’s still playing with skills you’ve learned recently; figuring them out and improving them. Similar to the science of sleep, what’s really interesting is that when the brain is relaxed, it still works on essential tasks, like filing, organizing, and storing information and skills that you’ve sponged up recently. Even daydreaming gives your brain time to reflect and provide some "moments of greatest creativity and insight."

3. Break routine and steep yourself in new places, cultures and cuisines.

Getting yourself out of the daily rut and going to a new place wakes you up and shakes you up with new sights, smells, tastes, and feelings. Experiencing these new senses helps you to better appreciate and see through a clearer window, the surroundings in your day-to-day life. Vacations can also help prevent burnout at home; by regularly taking time to relax, you can prevent that overworked, under-rested feeling you know too well.

4. Shorter vacations more often, can have more benefits than one long vacation.

A trick for success, says Jeroen Nawijn, seems to be indulging in two or more short vacations instead of one longer vacation.

Many forward thinking companies are providing employees with the option of several short vacations instead of one long vacation every year. A Harvard study tracked consulting employees for four years and found those who took regular breaks from work reported being happier with their jobs and much prouder of the work they did.

5. Bosses who vacation return as more focused leaders.

Routine becomes a stale soup, dull in color, missing aroma, and makes the soup unappealing. Bosses need to stir their own soup just as much as employees do.

Research at the Center for Creative Leadership who examined the way executives deal with taking vacations, found that when bosses take time off they come back more creative and  can more clearly think about the future of the company. If they don't take a break, she says it's extremely difficult for them to "see outside of the immediate whirlwind."

So what are you waiting for? Stir your soup, build more neuro-things, plan your vacation[s].

[1] Boring Repetitive Syndrome is a fictional condition. We are merely suggesting that doing the same thing every day makes for a dull human, so take that vacation.