Healthy Vacation

August 3, 2011 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Vacations are a time to relax, take a much needed break from work and spend some quality time with family, friends and ourselves. But they’re more than just that to medical researchers. Scientists consider vacations fertile ground for documenting the relative merits of being away from the workplace. A new study in the journal Psychology & Health explains that there are certain key elements which help increase the likelihood that a vacation will improve physical (fatigue, “health status”, tension) and psychological (mood, “satisfaction”, tension) parameters. In this current investigation, about 60% of a sample population reported vacation related improvements in health and well being. A more specific assessment of those who didn’t have a positive experience revealed that there were three primary contributors to their reported dissatisfaction: 1) too much time spent on “passive activities”, 2) not enough time engaging in pleasurable activities, 3) the occurrence of negative incidents while on vacation. Since many people are taking time off around this time of year, myself included, I thought this might be something to consider. (1)

Not every aspect of a vacation is under our control. But mindfully seeking out activities and experiences that genuinely bring about joy can make the difference between an enriching, restorative vacation and simply time away from work. I’ll be back next Wednesday with an all new column. In the meantime, I hope you all have an active, pleasurable and positive week, whether you’re on vacation or not.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health

3 Comments & Updates to “Healthy Vacation”

  1. Carol Says:

    I just want to say that I love your photo today.

    My vacation lasted a week and I came home five pounds lighter. I am trying to figure out how I did that!

  2. JP Says:

    Thanks, Carol!

    We often come back from vacations slightly lighter than we left – even on our recent trip to France! I suspect it has something to do with higher activity levels and (sometimes) weather conditions … cold temps = more calories/energy needed to stay warm.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. Jenny Says:

    I’m looking forward for a healthy vacation myself, a time for myself and away from work and worries. Thanks for the tips JP!

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