I am currently 30,000 feet in the air flying home after an incredible 2 week vacation in India with my niece. These 2 weeks actually felt like about 5 weeks away – but India always has that effect on me since I feel like I am eons away from my normal life when I am there. Even thought I’m sitting in a cramped airplane seat for 18 hours, I feel refreshed, relaxed, and even a little excited to get home – just what a vacation should do for you. So why don’t more people take vacations?
Vacation Deficit Disorder – Yes, It’s Real
It’s weird, every adult I meet says they want to travel more, yet we still somehow leave a over 700 million days of vacation on the table each year according to Project Time Off. That’s right, 52% of employees in America have unused vacation days. It’s now believed that not using your vacation or planning a vacation when you believe that it is important leads to unhealthy results and depression.
Americans suffering from a “vacation deficit” are nearly two times as likely to show signs of moderately severe to severe depression compared to the national average, according to the 10th annual Allianz Global Assistance Vacation Confidence Index. “Vacation deficit” identifies those who think that a vacation is important but are not confident they will take one this year.
By not taking your vacation, there are real consequences to your health and well-being.
Almost one-third (30.4 percent) of Americans with a vacation deficit demonstrate symptoms of mild to moderate depression, while 12 percent would be considered to be suffering signs of moderately severe to severe depression. Meanwhile, this creates a disturbing spiral – of the general population, those identified as displaying signs of moderately severe or severe depression are significantly less likely to have taken a vacation in the past two years, and are less likely to take a vacation in 2018. So once you start to go down that wormhole of not taking vacation, you will likely not take much vacation ever in the future.
Find Your Happiness in Travel
Everyone seems to be on a quest to find happiness; I know I am. It often feels as we get older that happiness is more and more elusive thanks to the additional stress of daily life and work. However, if I were going to prescribe something would that would guarantee more happiness in your life it would be travel.
For me, travel makes me happy, travel makes me feel younger, it makes me feel alive with possibilities, and I giggle more. Even travel to hard places like India still make me feel happy overall. Sure, there are a lot of hard, depressing things in India, but the joy of the interactions and experiences of traveling in India outweigh the depressing poverty or cleanliness for me. Plus, I come back home feeling more eager about trying to help countries and cultures like India because I’ve personalized it and it feels closer to me.
This happiness that travel brings on trickles down into your whole life: your job, company, personal relationships, and physical health.
Start Using Your Vacation!
From the moment I set foot in India, I had a wave of happiness fall over me, so excited that my niece brought me back to this country I love and excited about all of the new adventures I would have with her in the next two weeks. I do understand that not everyone can travel for a living like I do, but you can certainly use all of your vacation days that you are given – and that’s a good start.
Are you ready to take a vacation and find your happiness? You still have plenty of the year left to do so – and here are some great ideas to get away, relax, refresh, and stay positive!
Consider Doing a big Walk like the Camino de Santiago or Camino Ronda this Fall
Go Autumn Leaf Watching at these unusual places
Plan a trip to Alaska this winter to view the Northern Lights
Dive deep into local culture with an Intrepid Small Group Tour Anywhere in the World (this is who I went to India with!)
Go bear watching in remote BC Canada
Take a tiny vacation in a tiny home in Colorado
Do a Driving Trip in Maine
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and I have received financial compensation.