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Posts Tagged ‘stress relief’

In July  I set an out of office message.

“I am out of the office on vacation. I will be seeing national parks, family, friends, and the Rocky Mountains; I will not be seeing emails.”

And I left.  For two whole weeks! It was glorious and much needed.  

My daughters enjoying the North Rim of the Grand Canyon July 2020

According to research done by the U.S. Travel Association, Americans left 768 MILLION vacations days unused in 2018. That statistic surprised me given how often a friend, neighbor, or colleague says, “I need a vacation!” in conversation.

Allow me to persuade you on why you should use your vacation days:

Are looking for better physical or mental health? Want to achieve a goal you’ve set? Take a vacation!!!

Several studies have shown that taking time away from your job can have physical and psychological health benefits. People who use their vacation time have lower stress and less risk of heart disease.

You may be familiar with stress when it comes to your job. Vacation helps with that too! Stress contributes to heart disease and high blood pressure. Chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol can alter our brain structure. This can contribute to anxiety and depression.  Time away from work can increase feelings of calm and relieve stress.   This allows our brains to heal in ways it can’t when it is under pressure.

Physically, the benefits are positive too.   For both men and women, the New York Times reported, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.

People who vacation also have a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve their goals. One study three days after vacation found subjects’ physical complaints, quality of sleep, and mood had improved as compared to before vacation found.  These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacation. Returning to work can increase mental focus, creativity, and productivity. 

If you are thinking that your current budget or financial situation does not allow a vacation at this time, allow me to point out none of this research says WHERE or WHAT you have to do for these benefits. Those benefits are available when you take a break from work! A Caribbean island may sound relaxing, but there is plenty of relaxation to be found close to home. Recently the popularity of staycations has grown.  You may be missing some great destinations right in your backyard.  Stay close and get creative if you have to, just don’t add your vacation days to that 768 million. 

Wherever your vacation takes you, we hope it is relaxing!

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Resources:

COVID 19: Staycation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dhr.delaware.gov/benefits/covid-19/documents/eap-staycation-ideas.pdf

Harmon, M. (2020). It’s Vacation Time. Live Healthy Live Well, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Scienceshttps://livehealthyosu.com/2020/06/29/its-vacation-time/

Importance of taking vacation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/importance-of-taking-vacation

Kim, A. (2019, August 16). A record 768 million US vacation days went to waste last year, a study says. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/unused-vacation-days-trnd/index.html

US TravelAssociation (2019). PAID TIME OFF TRENDS IN THE U.S. Retrieved from https://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/media_root/document/Paid%20Time%20Off%20Trends%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf?utm_source=MagnetMail&utm_medium=email&utm_content=8%2E15%2E19%2DPress%2DVacation%20Days%20Release&utm_campaign=pr

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I love to watch people dance, and obviously others do as well because competitive dance shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance are dominating the world of reality television.

But what’s even better than watching someone dance is actually getting up and dancing.  You don’t need to be a dance pro to move to music, you just need to let go of your inhibitions and enjoy the process of moving to music.

If you’ve ever watched young children at a wedding reception, they love to get on the dance floor and move around.  They’re not self-conscious or embarrassed. However, as we age, our fear of looking foolish or of not doing something perfectly keeps us from enjoying the moment.

That’s a shame, because the physical and mental benefits of dancing are numerous.  Regardless of the type of dance—be it ballroom, ballet, Zumba, salsa, hip-hop or line dancing—each style can play a role in helping us stay fit.

Why Dance?

The fitness and health benefits of dancing are numerous.  A recent study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that older adults who participated in dance once a week for 18 months actually had an increase in their brain’s hippocampus size.

This is great news, as the hippocampus plays a key role in learning and memory.  Dance is an art form, merging creativity, self-expression and physical activity—all of which boost mental health.

Other Fitness & Health Benefits of Dance include:

  • Weight loss
  • Safe and easy on the joints
  • Improves strength, flexibility, agility and balance
  • Requires good posture and better control of the body’s movements
  • Conditions the heart and cardiovascular system
  • Improves lung capacity
  • Increases energy
  • Reduces stress
  • Builds confidence and self esteem
  • Lifts spirits and fights depression
  • Boosts memory and keeps the brain active
  • A great social activity, hobby and a positive way to meet people

So what are you waiting for? Play some music, get up, and dance!

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/dancing-better-health

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/dancing-and-brain

http://search.creativecommons.org/

 

 

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