The COVID-19 pandemic definitely threw a wrench in a lot of people’s vacation plans in 2020. That lifelong dream getaway was scrapped by lockdown and travel restrictions. However, as the world reopens thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, people are beginning to explore vacation opportunities once again. In fact, they may have saved up some additional vacation time having to work from home. While COVID-19 has led to our reassessment of our well-being, a getaway can be just what the doctor ordered.
1. Stress Relief
Whether it’s going to a mountain lodge in the Rockies or boarding a charter flight to Cabo San Lucas, a dream vacation can do more for overall health than some medications. A getaway to a favorite location can be all about having some fun, shutting off phones and laptops to get away from work, or any other issues that await back home. Time off helps to reduce stress, which can alleviate other medical conditions that are aggravated by those stressors.
Stress raises levels of certain hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. In the short term, this can be helpful, triggering the “fight or flight” response that handles immediate threats. However, chronic stress can increase your risk for health issues. Taking time away from work and school can reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments that they may be associating with anxiety. It’s important that your vacation is where you want to be. Don’t settle for a camping trip if you don’t enjoy camping, as your endorphins will simply not allow you to fully enjoy the downtime.
2. Improving Heart Health
Taking regular vacations can help reduce the risk of a cluster of health issues, primarily those related to cardiology, such as myocarditis. Myocarditis is a disease that causes inflammation of the heart muscle. This inflammation enlarges and weakens the heart, creates scar tissue, and forces it to work harder to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body. The symptoms of myocarditis include shortness of breath, fatigue, and heart palpitations. These symptoms have come under the spotlight in recent months because of their link to the aftermath of COVID-19.
A lengthy getaway has been linked to alleviating some of the underlying symptoms linked to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have even found that annual vacations have reduced the risk of death by a heart attack. One of the greatest benefits to heart health comes from vacations where activity is at its peak. For example, getting in tune with nature is great for cardio health with regular hikes and walks through various terrains. This has in turn helped to address certain pulmonary issues linked to heart and lung health.
3. Boosting Brain Function
A vacation takes you away from tasks that may be bogging you down at work, home, or school. Going away makes you feel more present and stimulated, breaking from normal routines. While meditation at home can increase mindfulness, eliminating environments that throw us into autopilot can lead to a better appreciation for where we are without the need for medical help. You can even take the time to do things you haven’t had time to lately, like reading a book or going for a swim.
Taking time off also improves the capacity to learn. When the brain is fully relaxed, it takes in knowledge and brainpower. More clinicians find that there is a strong link between travel and creativity. Oftentimes, people use vacation as a source of inspiration for those ventures that are on their horizon. If you truly want to reach peak relaxation on vacation, get some sleep. A snooze without an alarm or anywhere to be can be the best sleep of all.