Analyzing My Vacation for My Health

Posted by: | August 9, 2011

Last week was my birthday and I try to celebrate every thing I can in my life, so I took a little vacation to surf and camp in Tofino, then mountain bike and camp on Hornby Island.  It was an amazing trip: I saw both the sunset and sunrise on 2 our of the four days, laughed and relaxed and all of that good stuff that makes up a great vacation.

I came back to work yesterday feeling excited about my work day and to share my stories with my colleagues.  I know that spending some time away last week meant that I was more joyful about my work. Everyone could tell that I felt well, even after I realized that I have a ton of work to do this week!

How could one's physical and emotional health not be impacted positively by places like this? (Florencia Bay, Tofino)

So I thought I would take a look today at how vacations impact our health, according to research.  Here is what I found:

From researchers at the University of Vienna: “Recuperation was facilitated by free time for one’s self, warmer (and sunnier) vacation locations, exercise during vacation, good sleep, and making new acquaintances, especially among vacationers reporting higher levels of prevacation work strain.”

So I did a fairly good job on planning on my vacation as I managed to have free time for myself, timed it for a warm, sunny location, did some exercise, and slept in a fair amount.  I didn’t make any new acquaintances; I was happy with the company I kept!

From researchers in the Netherlands: “The results suggest that vacation has positive effects on health and well-being (small effect, d=+0.43), but that these effects soon fade out after work resumption (small effect, d=-0.38). Our research further demonstrated that vacation activities and exper iences have hardly been studied. Therefore, their contribution to vacation effect and fade out remains unclear.”

I take from this study the perspective that I can’t fix my health by simply taking a vacation.  I definitely benefited from relaxation and free-time, but I think I’ll have to continually work on finding ways to relax while back at work, in order to actually impact my health.

I also came across a great article that outlines how one’s health is impacted by vacation.




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