Can’t Afford A Vacation? Try A “Staycation”
In prior posts, I’ve written about how vacations can help us tame our stress. Unfortunately, most Americans only take about one week of vacation per year. This might sound O.K., until you compare it to those in Europe who take an average of five weeks per year. Even more serious, 43 percent of American women don’t take a yearly vacation.
In 2005, Catherine McCarty, Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Genetics at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wisconsin conducted a study that showed how important vacations are for emotional and physical health. The study of 1,500 women between the ages of 25 and 75 compared the health of those who rarely take vacations (every six years or less often) with those who regularly take vacations.
The study found that those who rarely take vacations are almost twice as likely to report high levels of stress and depression as those who get away twice a year or more. Dr. McCarty reported that non-vacationers were also more likely to develop high cholesterol and blood pressure, and less likely to say that they were satisfied in their marriages. If you feel guilty or uncomfortable taking days off and vacations, remember that rest, relaxation and leisure time is essential for you to function most effectively.
If you can’t afford to take a “regular” vacation, you may want to consider a “staycation.” This involves taking a week (or more) off from work, while staying home. You save money because you don’t have to pay for airfare or lodging. You stay in your home and visit fun places near home, such as museums, theaters, parks and book stores. Not only will you save money, you will also enjoy having a change of routine. In fact, one research study found that those who simply changed their routine reported feeling more relaxed and joyful than those who remained cooped up in their office. They returned from their staycation refreshed and feeling positive.
Have you ever taken a “staycation?” How did it compare with your “regular” vacations? Share your thoughts in the box below. Also, if you haven’t done so already, I encourage you download a free copy of “Tame Your Stress In 7 Days or Less” and “Breaking Free From Toxic Work Stress.” Just put your name and e-mail address in the box located above right. You will receive instant access to these powerful reports and audios.