Summer Vacation Why A Family Summer Vacation

Summer vacations may seem more trouble than they’re worth–they’re expensive, they take a lot of planning and taking time off work can be stressful. Then there’s the battle with vacation crowds and traffic, and the mess of sunscreen and bug spray, and the heat. Just thinking about it might have you asking “Why should I bother?”

But before you talk yourself out of a summer vacation, be it for yourself or for your family, consider this: Vacations, particularly summer vacations, have proven health-related benefits, including relieving stress and granting you perspective on the world in which you live.

Vacationing for Your Health

There’s a reason why almost all jobs include vacation days and benefits. Research has proven that regular vacations provide stress relief and health benefits for workers. However, in 2010, Americans did not use a total of 448 million earned vacation days–in fact, only 38 percent of those surveyed reported using all of their vacation time (CNN, 2011).

Workers reported feeling too overwhelmed with work to leave, fearing what might happen when they were gone or dreading the stack of work that would pile up while they were on vacation. And although the United States earns the least vacation time compared to other countries (an average of 13 days), Americans leave an average of three of those days unused (CNN, 2011).

But, the truth is, workers are better off when they do take regular vacations. A break from the office, whether it means going to a tropical beach, backpacking across Europe or just spending some quiet time at home, leads to mental, physical, psychological and spiritual benefits for the employee, which in turn benefits the employer. A study conducted by the State University of New York and published in the Journal “Psychosomatic Medicine” found that men who regularly took annual vacations reduced their overall risk of death by 20 percent and their risk of death from heart disease by nearly 30 percent (Livescience, 2008).

Additionally, a study conducted by the University of Washington found that women who take vacations frequently (twice or more per year) were less likely to experience tension, depression, fatigue and were more satisfied in their marriages than women who took vacations less than once in two years (Livescience, 2008).

A Little Quality Time With the Family

Another significant, yet simple, benefit of taking a family summer vacation is spending quality time with your family and friends. You might find that you haven’t had much time to spend as a family unit, and that the time you do spend together is not high quality, meaning there’s not a lot of bonding going on. This can be due to conflicting schedules, endless activities, and just the daily grind. Setting aside time specifically for family bonding results in not only more time together, but quality time together.

Although it might not seem like it, this is most easily done in the form of vacation because, despite all the planning, packing, traveling, traffic and crowds, getting away and doing something together provides a bonding opportunity outside of the familiar everyday home atmosphere.

You Are My Sunshine

We all know the health risks of too much sun exposure, but a little sunshine on summer vacation, done properly with sunscreen and sun protection, has proven health benefits. Safely catching a few rays outdoors has been linked to:

  • Boosting the immune system
  • Clearing up skin diseases such as acne, diaper rash, athlete’s foot
    and eczema
  • Encouraging healthy circulation
  • Killing viruses and bacteria in the air
  • Lifting your mood
  • Lowering pain levels
  • Stimulating appetite and improving digestion and metabolism.

This doesn’t mean you need to buy a plane ticket to Fiji. Even a few weekend trips this summer–beach days, a hiking trip, a few days camping–can help you reconnect with your family, restore your health and help you rejuvenate.
So, what are you waiting for?