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Work Hard, Play Hard: 5 Reasons You Should Take a Vacation
Whether you are a small business owner, stay-at-home parent, student, manager or regular employee – you should always make time to take a break and recharge your batteries.
Taking a vacation does not only make us feel good, but has scientifically-proven positive effects on our work life. While the popular belief is the harder you work, the more successful you’ll be. The reality is, you can work hard and rest, and achieve even greater things.
Luckily, we live in a beautiful country that has countless of vacation-worthy locations that we can enjoy. Moreover, if you’re employed you get 28 days off each year.
But before you start day dreaming about your next vacation on a beautiful Tanzanian beach, or ask your boss for leave. Here are 5 reasons why vacations are so important.
1. Less Stress
While many of us think that being stressed indicates that we are working hard, it’s actually incredibly harmful. In fact, stress has been linked to six fatal diseases: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
Unfortunately, for many of us, stress is an unavoidable factor in our lives. And while you can do things like join a gym, take a yoga class and eat well to help reduce and manage it – if you live in a city like Dar es Salaam, with its traffic, high costs of living and other daily annoyances – you are bound to feel overwhelmed.
Taking a vacation, a real one, whereby you disconnect from your everyday life (no phone, computer, internet, and work related activities) and just let your mind relax can help significantly.
In fact, rather than taking a long vacation once a year, it’s better to take short 3 - 4 days off, multiple times a year. This will allow you to manage your stress levels more consistently throughout the year, rather than in just one big chunk.
Where to go: If you live in a city, let’s say Dar es Salaam, there are plenty of resorts near the beach that you can escape to. But if you want to get away from the city all together, go to Zanzibar or Bagamoyo.
If you don’t have much money to spend, then stay home, and go for walks on a quiet street or the public beach.
2. Gain perspective
Because we are so deeply ingrained in our day to day routines, it’s difficult to see the problems in our lives and even harder to find solutions.
When you go on vacation, especially if you travel to another region or country, you remove yourself from your daily routine and put yourself in a space where things are different from what you know. This will make it easier for you to reflect on different aspects of your work and personal life and see what needs to change and how. It’s just like getting a second opinion on something from someone else, they see things that you don’t. You can achieve similar clarity when you go on vacation.
Moreover, if you are running a business, this is a good time to see if your business can run without you. If it can’t, then according to Inc Magazine, “you need to spend time empowering others, establishing better systems, and creating accountability”.
Where to go: There are some great travel agencies that can help you find an amazing vacation spot that fits your budget.
Once again, if you don’t want to spend too much, you could have an unconventional vacation and volunteer your time. Or go to another region that you’ve never been in.
3. Increase creativity
Many of us have seen a colleague come back from break, and act completely different than they did before they left. Instead of being unmotivated and slacking, they are rejuvenated and have great ideas that they are excited to implement.
The thing is, when the brain relaxes it processes information and focuses on practicing new skills and problem solving (without you knowing). As a result, you boost your creative juices and skills, and become not only better at your job, but a more pleasant person to be around.
4. Boost Happiness
This is all about science. When you are on vacation, your body releases more amounts of serotonin (the happy hormone), which also reduces the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). All in all, positive hormones are produced in your body, and this affects your feelings and outlook on life.
Where to go: The thing is, a vacation doesn’t need to be costly or long to be beneficial. An affordable weekend get-away is far better than none at all. The key is to fully unplug from work and your everyday activities.
5. Better performance
A study by Florida State University shows that people who take vacations are more productive and have greater chances of being promoted and achieve overall success than people who don’t. In the study, “researchers looked at the performance of elite athletes, musicians and chess players, and found that the best performers practiced in intervals of 90 minutes. They often took breaks between sessions and hardly ever worked more than four and half hours a day”.
This further proves that if you give yourself time to recover after a ‘session’ of working hard, you will be better at your job.
A vacation should be a top priority
The overall lesson here is you get more done quicker when you step back and recharge the brain and body.
Taking a break from work isn’t a privilege, it’s a necessity. And now that we’ve shown you the importance of vacations to your overall mental and physical health, as well as productivity at work – you should prioritize ‘going on leave’.