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Take a Vacation for Your Health. Guest Blogger Carol Phillips

by Carol Phillips on Tuesday, July 05, 2016

We all need a change of scenery on a regular basis. Our brains and bodies become bored and tired of the same routine but also overwhelmed with the monotony. We become less and less productive when we don’t listen to our instinct to take a break.

Have you noticed that when you return from a few days or weeks of being away, your brain seems to enjoy the experience of just being at home more than before your break? Your beautiful brain needs a change of surroundings and new things to see and do.

Changing the scenery doesn’t have to involve spending a large amount of money. A retreat can be something as simple as driving an hour from home and hiking for a few hours or visiting friends you haven’t seen in a while.

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Vacations help remove you from the chronic stress in your life, especially the stressors you may not realize exist until you are physically and mentally away for a time. A Psychology Today article by Susan Krauss Whitborne, Ph.D., “The Importance of Vacations to our Physical and Mental Health,” confirms the significance of taking time away from our usual activities: “Chronic stress takes its toll in part on our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even the ability to avoid injury” (www.psychologytoday.com).

Consider this list:  (1) Resist infection; (2) maintain vital functions; and (3) avoid injury. How can we justify keeping your body at risk in these ways by living in a constant state of stress?

The article goes on to explain that simply being tired or stressed increases your likelihood of becoming ill, overworks your arteries, makes you more likely to have an accident, interferes with quality sleep, impairs digestion, and may even alter the genetic material within your body’s cells in a detrimental way.

As the Psychology Today article points out, “Mentally, not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse and you’ll make poorer decisions. You’ll also be less fun to be with, causing you to become more isolated, lonely and depressed.”

Was there a time in your life when you didn’t think you needed a break, but after taking one, you felt surprisingly refreshed, more positive and healthier? Responding in this way is a sign that your body was dealing with chronic stress and you weren’t aware of the negative effects. The other extreme is when you know you’re long overdue for a break. Listening to your body during these times is even more crucial because your health is already being significantly challenged.

When we take a break from our routines, we often spend more time with family and friends, which can positively affect our relationships. Just as we need to focus on our work to keep the occupational part of our lives healthy, we also need to have blocks of time to maintain healthy relationships. Most terminally ill people are quick to share that they wished they had spent more time with the people they love and less time working. Great advice!

Has it been too long since you gave your mind and body a true break from your usual routine? Taking time to recharge your batteries is not being lazy. The opposite is true:  The effort will pay you in many health rewards. Now, look at your calendar and get excited about planning your next mind and body recharge!

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Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol. She helps companies significantly reduce costs and increase productivity through a new approach to wellness consulting.  Based in Manchester, NH, she can be reached through her website at www.HealthDesignNH.com.

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