Cleaning out the basement is not a vacation, neither is painting the kitchen, moving kids into college, or having a hernia operation.
An activity that conjures up a significant amount of stress shouldn’t be allowed to swallow up precious vacation time. If you want to live longer, you need to play more.
Studies show an amazing correlation between vacation time and good health. While she was on vacation herself, the Flashionista found an article in Conde Nast Traveler worth bringing to the attention of anyone thinking of taking time off.
The article, An Rx for a Healthy Escape, published in the September 2009 issue, lays out a road map for the “perfect escape.”
A week is all you need and will do the most good if taken all at once. Combining business with pleasure may allow you to steal a weekend in Boston between meetings, but mini holidays don’t generate much restorative energy.
Things like too many meetings with family or friends, chronically checking your ‘crackberry’, or even following an itinerary tend to have the opposite of a curative effect. (Stay away from those ubiquitous, organized bus tours.)
Jet lag can really zap your energy. Avoid painful re-entries by keeping travel through time zones to a minimum. The most beneficial vacations start and end well, so don’t allow travel hassles or delays to ruin your holiday.
Making new acquaintances has been shown to increase the restorative power of a vacation. So choose a destination where you’re likely to have the opportunity to mingle either with locals or other travelers.
Don’t just lay there like a beached banana boat. Include some physical activities: walking tours, biking, snorkeling, and bogey boarding all count.
Seek the sun. Studies confirm that time spent in a sunny destination provides greater health benefits than staying in one that has shorter days.
And in Case You’re Thinking of Foregoing a Vacation…
Don’t DO It!
Research suggests that vacations can reduce the risk of heart disease, depression, and a host of other ills-and even slow the aging process. Margot Dougherty reports on the healing powers of travel and tries out a California-style cure.