Where will you spend the next holidays?
When deciding your holiday schedule for the year, take into account which option is best for your health, not just your work commitments. There is even evidence now that opting for a holiday at home has health benefits.
Have you been saving all your holidays to go on an amazing end-of-year trip? Well, research is showing that squirrelling away holiday leave leads to a higher risk of developing metabolic dysfunction.1 Australia ranked 3rd in the world for people not using full leave entitlements every year. Having either no holidays or vacations less often were associated with a 47% higher risk of presenting with altered markers of metabolic syndrome.1 A 16% risk for those who took the average of five vacations, and around 1% risk for those who took the maximum of 15 yearly vacations.1 In fact, each additional vacation taken was associated with an 8% decrease in the number of metabolic symptoms, but this statistic was not associated with the total number of vacation days.1
Vacation deprivation not only affects well-being but also physical health, potentially contributing to a higher risk of heart disease for men or more depression among women.1
Vacationing mostly at home had a 27% less chance of presenting with metabolic syndrome symptoms when compared to those who did not holiday at home.1,2,3 Research has consistently shown that vacations have a positive effect. A meta-analysis found that holiday-makers perceive improvements in life satisfaction and mood as well as decreases in exhaustion and negative mood as a result of holidaying.4 Additionally, brain catecholamines that are involved in the regulation of mood, anxiety, appetite, reward, and attention respond to novel environmental stimuli, like a new routine or destination.5
Here is a checklist for a great staycation.
- Favourite tea blends
- 70% dark chocolate
Activities to schedule:
- Pyjama day – stay in your pjs and make sure you have the prettiest linen on your bed. Turn off your phone and computer. A pyjama day works best if the family/flat mates are out of the house. Arm yourself with magazines and books. Put the kettle on – there is going to be some serious tea drinking going on. After a lovely read, why not do some journaling, creative planning or just daydreaming? It might be fun to have a little nap or two. The whole idea is to relax and have a few hours away from everyday pressures and tasks. You will be amazed at how good you feel. Recommended at least once a year.
- 15 minutes of meditation
- Explore your own city. Act like a tourist and go exploring with your friends or family.
- Indulge in a spa day. Massage, hot rocks…. Fabulous
- Get some sand in between your toes and have a day out at the beach
- Book a city hotel, hit the shops and try some different cuisines.
- Visit an art gallery and wander through the exhibits
- Voelker, R. Vacationing More Often May Reduce Metabolic Syndrome Risk. JAMA 322, 804–805 (2019).
- Besson, A. Everyday aesthetics on staycation as a pathway to restoration. Int. J. Humanit. Cult. Stud. 4, 34–52 (2017).
- May, C. J., Ostafin, B. D. & Snippe, E. The relative impact of 15-minutes of meditation compared to a day of vacation in daily life: An exploratory analysis. J. Posit. Psychol. 00, 1–7 (2019).
- Hruska, B., Pressman, S. D., Bendinskas, K. & Gump, B. B. Vacation frequency is associated with metabolic syndrome and symptoms. Psychol. Heal. 0, 1–15 (2019).
- Leyton, M. et al. Effects on mood of acute phenylalanine/tyrosine depletion in healthy women. Neuropsychopharmacology 22, 52–63 (2000).