WELLNESS--In today’s busy world, there never seems to be enough time for us. Add the stress of family on top of work and bills, and it makes getting out of town more challenging than ever. What people don’t realize is there is a clear link between over-working, not taking down time, and coronary heart disease.
A study done in 2012 concluded that people who work more than 8 hours a day and don’t take a vacation at least once a year have a 40% greater chance of developing coronary heart disease than their less stressed out co-workers. More than half of Americans have not taken a vacation in the past year and that same population is working more than 40 hours a week.
The study suggests that prolonged exposure to stress with no break keeps our body in fight or flight. This causes a cascade of stress hormones to be released with no pause increasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood. This hormone has been linked to many dangerous diseases including inflammation, digestive problems, and heart disease among others.
Besides being good for the heart, it’s also good for the mind. The time away with no laptop and phone all day allows the mind to wander and the brain to go into theta waves. When people work non stop with no break the mental sharpness and acuity actually weakens. Just like the body, the brain also needs a break.
Many of you may be asking, “How can I afford a vacation?” One easy ways to get away without breaking the bank are by taking road trips instead of flying. Very often getting to the desired destination is more than half of the cost of the entire trip. Picking a place close enough to drive is often just what the doctor ordered.
As far a lodging goes there are new computer apps that help make that more affordable as well. Sites like AirBnB and VRBO help to make finding a place to stay much more affordable as opposed to expensive hotels. This also allows you to pack as much of the necessities you will need to cut down on spending once you arrive. Finally, these homes away from home usually offer a full kitchen allowing you to get groceries and prepare your own meals.
As far as that dreaded feeling of having to go back to work after having had a nice time away? There’s not much we can do about that, but that’s hardly a good reason to avoid taking a vacation. That would be like saying, “why eat when I’m just going to get hungry again later?” All signs point to vacations being good for your mental, physical, and spiritual health so pack your bags and hit the road!
(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.