Vacations' Healing Powers: Tip-of-the-Day #205


Not every blog entry will focus on saving money. Some will speak to saving your recyclables, saving yourself grief, and in this case, saving your life! Did you know that a vacation can save your life? No joke! Research now suggests that vacations can reduce the risk of heart disease and depression, and even slow the aging process! While common sense has always suggested that vacations are "good", science now backs it up. Here are some tips to be mindful of:

1. Take as much time as you can. I happen to have a nasty habit of booking all my trips under seven nights because I worry that I'll "get bored." But boredom may be just what most of us need to detox from our every day grind. It has been scientifically proven now that trips of seven or more days are the most restorative. And, contrary to what I believed, fewer but longer trips outweigh many shorter getaways.

2. Try to stay closer to home. I've always adhered to this mainly from sheer laziness but now it's been shown that fewer time zones keep jetlag to a minimum. Jetlag is actually stressful to your body and avoiding it will make the vacation feel that much better. (Tip: go north or south to avoid harshest reentry).

3. Don't bring your laptop (or Blackberry!). This may seem like a no-brainer but often when people take vacations they also take their electronics with them! Free yourself of all obligation, to truly relax. That means no email, no calling work to make sure everything is okay, and no meetings or appointments. Enjoy the vacation!

4. Make new friends. This one is ironic because I totally avoid "making new friends" on vacation, but according to a Conde Nast Traveler report, the process of making new acquaintances actually increases the restorative powers of a vacation. Shmooze, go to happy hours, and chat with people by the pool. In short, try and pick a vacation where you'll meet people instead of isolating yourself on a remote island.

5. Don't get too lazy. Try to work some physical activity into your vaca and you'll notice a difference in how you feel by the end of it. Especially if you are normally an active person.

6. Try to pick a warm destination. I do this without any science backing my decision but that's because when I'm on holiday I want to *feel* it. Living in the Bay Area where it's moderate to cool all year long makes me actually crave warmth when I do get away. You won't see me hitting the wintery slopes of Lake Tahoe. I'll always be on the lounge chair in Mexico and now science is on my side proving it's restorative powers!

Smart women travel and enjoy their time off. You deserve it!

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