One thing for sure is that vacations are fun and healthy. Many patients come to my office and boast that they have never missed a day of work. They feel proud of themselves, but when I tell them that they are potentially endangering their health, many of them are shocked. Over the years, it has been repeatedly shown that vacation time, downtime is essential to our health, happiness and longevity.
There are several reasons for this, one is that we need to take time to relax and get away from our routine so we can rejuvenate. Chronic stress can result in constantly elevated levels of cortisol in our bloodstream. This suppresses our immune system, making us more susceptible to infection. Chronic stress is also associated with poor lifestyle choices. The pressure of our jobs and personal lives can increase the chance that we do not eat properly, nor do we make the time to exercise regularly, drink plenty of water or get enough rest. This in turn can lead to increases in weight, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and eventually increase our risk of developing chronic non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. Many people use vacation time to de-stress and rest.
Another reason to take vacations is that it is good for our mental health and wellness. A study conducted by the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin in 2005 found that women who take vacations frequently are less likely to be tense, depressed, or tired and more satisfied with their marriages.
Some additional reasons to take vacations regularly include;
- Improvement of intellectual ability. Resting the brain cells and allowing them to be free of worry results in the mind working better and more efficiently.
- Improvement in family relationships and communication
- Improvement in overall enjoyment of life.
- Potentially lengthening your life. A study by the University of New York found that men who took vacation annually lived 20 percent longer lives than those who did not.
I surely do not need any more convincing that vacations are critical for my health and happiness.
I always try my best to practice what I preach. I may not always succeed, but I still continue to try. In that vein, I decided to book to a holistic holiday cruise with my husband. In March 2015 we will be taking a vegan cruise to the western Caribbean. It will be aboard the Italian MSC cruise line.
I was so excited to see an MSC cruise ship cruising into our harbor early one morning last month. I called Huggins shipping and found out that it was in fact the very same boat that we would be cruising on next year. I requested to go on board, but it was too short notice. Mr. Knight said the ship would be back on 25th July on it's way from Brazil after the World Cup . He promised me that he would try his best to see if I could go aboard for lunch and a tour.
Early on the 25th of July, Ferron and I were doing our usual exercises in Grand Anse, and I kept looking at the horizon. Finally, we saw her, the MSC Divina in all her glory slowly cruising into our habour. I was thrilled, but still not sure if I would be going aboard, because Mr. Knight was on vacation. Thankfully, Mr. Bubb was in charge and he was able to secure permission for my husband and I to go on board to take a tour of the ship, in anticipation of our fast approaching cruise.
It was such an exciting afternoon. I am glad that my staff encouraged me to switch our half day so that I would be free to enjoy myself. It was great fun to take a mini vacation for the afternoon, and anticipate the full vacation to come.