Today, I’m heading off for Thanksgiving vacation. I’ll be gone for the full break, during which time I won’t be thinking about work at all. If you’re like the 62% of Americans who don’t fully take advantage of their vacation time, this may seem like a waste of a productive week, but the truth is that we need vacations to prosper. Without regular breaks to recover from the stress of work and life, we become progressively less productive until we burn out.
In fact, studies show that both our physical and mental health suffer permanent damage without cleansing vacations during which we can recover from the daily buildup of stress. It may seem silly, but the occasional week where nothing productive gets done is actually good for you (even if you may feel like it wreaks havoc on your busy schedule).
After all, nothing is worth sacrificing your health. Stress triggers a wide range of health problems from headaches to diabetes to all kinds of skin conditions. Long-term exposure to stress depresses immune function, making you more susceptible to all kinds of diseases. Stress even triggers the fight-or-flight response, putting your cardiovascular system into overdrive. You’re more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. The impact of high levels of stress hormones like cortisol alone can devastate the body. Extended vacations lower your cortisol levels for long enough that your body can recuperate and get back to performing at its top level.
Even the mental and emotional impact of stress can be devastating. Dealing with high levels of stress on a daily basis without restful vacations can cause your cognitive function to decline significantly. You lose your ability to regulate your emotional responses to upsetting or stressful stimuli. Stress triggers irritability and anxiety– even depression.
Chiropractic care is all about prevention. There is nothing worse than trying to get back to a place of health once irreversible damage has already been done. Vacations break up the stress cycle, so you can keep yourself from ever getting to that dangerous place. This Thanksgiving and holiday season, let the daily stress of life go. Relax, and maximize your vacation time. I am thankful for many things this holiday season, but my health is on the top of the list. I am ensuring that my health stays in a good place with plenty of rest during my vacation–and you should do the same.