Discover Yourself: Taking Vacations, Traveling, and Healing

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The American poet T.S. Eliot wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” The idea is, of course, that exploration, travel, and seeing new places will lead us back to the starting point with an entirely new view and different perspective.

According to the American Institute of Stress, 25% of people have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, and 80% of workers feel stress on the job. This means a considerable amount of people feel constantly on edge, and a good percentage of them have reached what might very well be described as a boiling point. This is not uncommon in a society that is often said to be overly dedicated to careers and job responsibilities. However, taking those vacation days can help people that feel this type of stress to reset, catch a breather, and view life through a new lens.

Keep Sickness Away

According to Psychology Today, chronic stress is a major factor in the body being unable to fend off infection, maintain vital functions, and even resist injury.  High levels of stress for a prolonged period of time weaken the body’s immune system, and often block its ability to recover from illness.

Aid Your Brain

Based on research published by Scientific American, leisure time is not a vice, but indispensable to the brain’s well being and long-term function. Downtime actually replenishes the brain’s stores of attention. By allowing the brain some cool-off time, there is an increase in creativity, which helps to solve difficult problems and tackle complex projects at work.

Increase Productivity

Not only does some time off increase your creativity, but it will increase your productivity at work, allowing you to work more efficiently and effectively on a variety of tasks. As Inc. reports, the brain is not designed to work nonstop. It needs breaks, and contrary to popular belief, putting in more hours has been proven to actually decrease productivity.

Experts have confirmed that memory depends on sleep. Maintaining a sharp memory can help in recalling important information that aids in the completion of your work.

Help Your Relationships

Experts say that time off can actually help relationships flourish with family. When people work long hours during the week, taking a few days off can do wonders for a relationship with your kids or with your significant other.

Combat Pain and Addiction

If you’re recovering from addiction, removing yourself from your usual surroundings will help in bringing new perspective to your life. Traveling out in nature even for a few days can be a good way to rediscover your place in life.

Removing yourself from the usual routine can help bring new understanding and perspective. For many, it is a way to heal. If you’re working through addiction problems, travel is one way to occupy your mind on new people, a new environment, and a new culture. This is a great way to remain sober and cleanse yourself of bad energy. As the Huffington Post writes, travel and reflection can help heal pain of all sorts.

How to Maximize Your Time

It is often more difficult than it seems to slow down after working at a high pace for long periods of time or switch gears from a routine. This often leads to people squandering their vacation time, and thus not maximizing the amount of time off. To combat this:

  • Make sure to plan ahead

  • Book flights and hotels early

  • Allow yourself a day or two to wind down

  • Plan activities during your vacation so you don’t go from being completely busy to having nothing to do

Americans are known workaholics, but as it turns out, using those vacation days can actually make you more productive, increase happiness, and give you a new outlook on life. As Eliot wrote, you return to the place from which you started, to see it as if for the first time, with a new outlook and a new depth.

- Henry Moore (Guest blogger at fitwelltraveler.com)