Friday, December 15, 2017

Guest Post: Even Workaholics Need to Take their Travel Days, Science Tells Us So

The most successful professionals know the value of hard work. Often, workaholism and professional success go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, workaholism and good mental health don’t go hand-in-hand. The facts tell us that travel provides fresh perspective and mental health benefits that everybody – especially those who never seem to take time off – could use. 

To keep stress levels low and to help mental well-being, spouses of workaholics, and the worker bees themselves, should engage in non-business related travel from time to time.


(Photo via Pixabay)

The Dangers of Overworking

The health consequences of overwork can’t be overstated. The dangers that come with long hours and shift work – such as the abnormal hours hospital employees face – are many, and they’re not to be taken lightly.

A milder consequence of pushing oneself too far at work is reduced job performance. Even when you think you’re doing a good job for your employer by staying longer or taking the graveyard shift, studies show that this is most often not the case. Running on fumes means a product or service that is worse in quality than if you were properly rested or were able to manage your workload more reasonably. But poor performance pales in comparison to the health risks associated with overworking.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information publishes many studies on health, and one in particular shows that overly long work hours carry the risk of obesity, on-the-job injury, and chronic disease. In Japan, approximately 30,000 suicides per year are thought to be related to economic and work-related pressures. This is not fear-mongering, it’s factual, and it should help inform why taking time off from work for vacation is so important.

The Flipside: Benefits of Travel on Mental Health

 (Photo via Pixabay)

PsychCentral has detailed the benefits of travel on our mental health. The neurological benefits of taking your mind completely off of work-related responsibilities are immense.Travel forces us to use different parts of our brain, especially when you’re in unfamiliar territory. For example, if you travel somewhere outside of the States where poverty or other factors mean a challenging quality of life, you’ll gain perspective on your own problems. Consider too the benefits of navigating a foreign language or city, tasting new food and experiencing different cultures.

Our biological functions are improved when we travel, too. The Perfect World Project references a study from the University of Surrey which showed that people experience more happiness when anticipating an upcoming vacation. New experience helps to sharpen the mind, and travel has also been proven to reduce stress, which increases our blood pressure and is common in the overworked population.

Traveling is also synonymous with a fortified immune system. According to CBS, your relationships may emerge stronger, too. The monotony of our daily routine is not always conducive to romance, and taking a trip with your partner has the opposite effect; it’s spice for your love life.

The best part is that when it comes to travel, your options are limitless. Not to mention that there are myriad ways to find the perfect vacation online. Some quick research will yield plenty of results and make booking your travel that much easier.

(Photo via Pixabay)

When you’re planning your trip, part of your travel arrangements should be securing your home and arranging care for your pet, especially if you’re a dog owner. Having these pieces of the puzzle in place will help keep worry and stress low during your absence. Even if it means hiring a pet sitter, it’s smart to shell out a little extra dough for your dog’s benefit.

It’s often more difficult for us to have fun than to remain stagnant. Breaking a routine, especially one that allows us to pay bills and provide a better life for our family, is not always easy. Understanding the dangers that overworking pose to our health and conversely the proven benefits that travel has on our mental and physical well-being is key. It helps us to understand that money pales in comparison to our health and happiness. So stop grinding your fingers to the bone, plan a vacation, and start enjoying the perks which begin even before you head to the airport.

Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder. With, Ms. Scott offers a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can discuss their experiences.

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