Over recent years, an increasing number of studies have been released about the benefits that vacations can have on mental health. Benefits like improved life satisfaction, boosts in creativity, decreased job and life stress, and increased happiness. And beach vacations certainly increase those benefits, as well! According to the article Want a Happier Life? Science Says Visit the Beach, a 2018 study from Hong Kong even reported that those who visit the beach have a lower risk of depression. With all of these studies, it seems like a no-brainer that we need vacations!
So, why then, is Elon Musk telling us that vacations will kill us?
You’ve all heard of Elon Musk. Billionaire extraordinaire, entrepreneur, successful businessman, and one of the richest people in the world. He began his journey to the top in the ‘90s and hasn’t stopped working since. His motivation and drive are to be commended. After all, his net worth comes in at over 24 billion dollars! If monetary wealth was the only indicator of success, then we’d all be scrambling to try and follow in Elon Musk’s footsteps up the mountain toward financial victory.
Now, if you have a propensity for this single type of success, more power to you. For most of us, however, monetary prosperity is only the tip of the iceberg. It is merely one piece in the formula that leads to our individual success. Most of us crave additional fulfillment that results in a well-rounded, happy way of living.
That is why, when we heard Elon Musk’s opinion on vacations, we were disappointed to say the least! This 2019 CNBC article reports that following his few disastrous attempts at taking time off from his busy life schedule, Elon Musk says, “That’s my lesson for taking a vacation…Vacations will kill you.”
Well, Mr. Musk, we’d like to respectfully disagree. Vacations won’t kill us. They are what help us live!
While Elon Musk may have had some disappointing vacation experiences, that isn’t the norm. As mentioned previously, vacations typically lead to improved mental health and increased life satisfaction. That doesn’t sound like a killer, now does it? Not in our book!
Let’s take a dive into some of the specific, science-based benefits of taking a vacation. That way, if anyone gives you a hard time about taking some well-deserved time off, you can hit them with the facts.
Improved Physical Health
Vacations have been shown to enhance physical health. Not taking a single moment to breathe as you navigate work and life’s struggles can lead to high levels of stress. Stress, which can result in a buildup of cortisol that can increase cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease. The article Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial found that the mortality rate of heart disease for men who take frequent vacations was 32% less than those who didn’t take vacations. Similarly, this study found that women who did not take vacations often suffered from negative effects on the heart. By taking a vacation, you are literally taking your life into your own hands and improving your physical health! Many vacationers have also noted other physical health improvements, such as increased sleep quality, improved attitude, and decreased physical complaints.
Boost in Productivity
When you are bogged down by the obligations of work, it can be hard to fathom that taking a break could actually improve your productivity levels at work. After all, how could you be productive if you aren’t actually at your desk pounding those keys? Funnily enough, not taking a break could be the exact reason your productivity levels are down! You see, burnout happens quickly when we are trying to operate at our highest levels at all times. This can lead to decreased concentration and distraction, resulting in ineffective use of time. The solution for this is as simple as taking a break! Vacations are proven to increase worker productivity. By taking a break, you can refuel your energy levels, boost your overall attitude, enhance your creativity, and feel less distracted, making it easier to get back to the grind.
Feeling a lack of creativity lately? Stress, anxiety, and other pressures can quash a creative mind. Vacations, however, can help alleviate the stresses that contribute to creativity suppression, enabling your mind to travel back to the winding trails of creativity. According to the study titled Vacation from work: A ‘ticket to creativity,’ “Recreational travel may increase creativity by relieving works from stress, providing diversifying experiences and increasing positive emotions. Consequently, vacations may boost creativity, apparent in a greater variety (flexibility) and originality of ideas after work resumption.” How about that! In our personal opinion, a vacation to the Emerald Coast can do even more to increase your feelings of creativity. With a large population of artists, the 30A and Destin area is home to a wide variety of art galleries, craft stores, and do-it-yourself art experiences. Each of these allows visitors to explore their own artistic juices to fuel their creativity, not just on vacation, but back in the real world.
Who knew that one of the best ways to strengthen your relationships is by going on a vacation? In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be easy to forgo continuously improving your personal relationships because other stressors seem more prevalent and worthy of your time. But your relationships don’t deserve to be on the back burner, as they are essential to you and your loved ones’ happiness! Spending quality, carefree time on vacation with your loved ones is an incredible way to boost those relationships. Additionally, a 2013 study about the benefits of vacation indicated that families who vacation together seek shared exploration, communication and togetherness, escape and relaxation, and experiential learning, each of which supports positive and well-rounded relationships.
Enhanced Mental Health
Last, but certainly not least, vacations positively influence your mental health and increase your happiness levels. So, what is it about vacations that help improve your mental health? First of all, vacations are great stress busters. As we already know, alleviating stress contributes to our physical wellness, but it also helps us to relax and recharge. Lowering those cortisol levels not only reduce the risk of heart disease, but also helps you to feel calmer, content, and happier. Additionally, all of the other benefits we’ve listed in this post so far help improve life satisfaction and your mental health. Improved physical health, a boost in productivity, heightened creativity, and improved relationships can all contribute to decreased depression and increased happiness!
Do any of these seem like reasons to avoid vacations? No way!
Let’s hope that Elon Musk hasn’t already given up on vacations altogether. He’s successfully dominated the business world, why not try tackling the vacation world as well? We can guarantee it leads to some good times and feelings of fulfillment. Because, guess what, there is more to life than monetary success!