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The Health Benefits of Frequent Short Holidays

Posted on 24 July 2018 by Leonie Satori

While we all dream of taking six months off to travel the globe and re-connect with our true selves. Reality, work-commitments and family can sometimes limit our ability to even conceive of such a spectacular journey. For many, frequent short holidays can provide enough down-time to re-energise and satisfy at least some of our adventure needs to cope with our daily life.

The Health Benefits of Frequent Short Holidays

The Downside of Long Infrequent Holidays

Although a romantic ideal, a long holiday is not always achievable for many us and the anxiety of what seems like an impossible target can create more emotional discomfort. Sometimes, the stress of leaving your business, work-commitments, children, pets or garden to other people to look after for an extended period of time is more than the holiday is worth.

Long breaks between getaways can translate to overwhelm and such a build-up of anxiety that actual relaxation on a much anticipated holiday can seem almost impossible. Also, the dread of a backlog of tasks to do when returning from a prolonged holiday can make it seem pretty undesirable for some. 

So, What is a Frequent Short Holiday?

Long weekends, 3-5 days off, for most people is manageable, both financially and with work/family commitments. Aiming for a good few of these types of holidays (I'm not putting a numeric value to this) can help to achieve as much, if not more rest and relaxation than one big holiday a year (or every 2nd or 3rd year for some). The essence of a good short holiday takes you away from your familiar environment and allows you to return home refreshed but not additionally stressed. 

The Benefits of Frequent Short Holidays

On the surface, frequent short holidays may appear a little less desirable than a big long holiday, but let me convince you otherwise.

Financially, frequent short holidays are more achievable. A quick camping trip or a visit to some relatives only a short drive away can be something most can fit into their budget. Those with pets, will also find that it is also easier to find a sitter for short term breaks, rather than extended periods.

The build-up and the wind-down of frequent short trips can mean that you are often channeling more energy into holidays than you would if you were taking less frequent breaks. Let me explain it this way; there is a certain amount of anticipation in the lead-up to a holiday, this involves the preparation, planning and discussions involved with your trip. This helps you get into the mood of the holiday and helps to build excitement and studies suggest that it is this anticipation that helps to create more happiness in your life [1]. After a holiday, there is the wind-down, talking with friends about your adventures, sorting through your photos and chatting with your loved ones about your journey. Obviously, after this has worn off, you will be planning your next trip, which means you will be more regularly applying energy to your real life adventures rather than stressing about when the next holiday will eventually come.

Regular short holidays can mean that you have the opportunity to explore more places and get to know your environment better. In Australia we are blessed with an abundance of beaches, forests and small country towns just waiting to be discovered by local travelers. This can not only add to your conversational topics (yes, I've been there) but also can help you to appreciate what we have just on our doorstep.

Regular short holidays can help with achieving relaxation without the need for special equipment. We all seem to lead busy lives these days, and being able to "switch off" and unwind can be a challenge for some. With regular practice, frequent short breaks can help you to learn how to de-stress and wind down more easily. Long term, this re-programming can help with overall stress management, and theoretically help with physical, mental emotional wellbeing.

Still not convinced? There have been a few studies to show the health benefits of more frequent, short holidays, suggesting that benefits include a strengthened cardiovascular system and (I'm not kidding here) reduces your risk of dying [2]. Mental and emotional wellbeing, with improved coping and reduced depression being just a few of the benefits of frequent short holidays [3].

It goes without saying that regular short holidays can help with increasing your appreciation for life, family and loved ones. Returning home or to work after a short holiday can enable you to view situations with fresh eyes, help with creativity and encourage clear thinking and productivity. 

By no means am I suggesting that you should forgo that nice long well-planned holiday. Ideally, interspersing our big holiday breaks with shorter trips can reduce stress, anxiety and help with overall wellbeing.

So, Where Are You Going Next Holiday?

While I am writing this I am looking forward to a short holiday near Evans Head, yes, a little camping in the winter chill. At the same time, we are planning another getaway in September or October and then, ... I'm hoping for a nice week long (or longer) break over the festive break (fingers crossed). For me, this time is a special time for rest, relaxation and for recharging my batteries, plus the anticipation and fond memories of connection with my partner and with nature. 

 

[1] "Vacationers Happier, But Not Most Happier After a Holiday" Jeroen Nawijn, Miquelle A. Marchand, Ruut Veenhoven & Ad J. Vingerhoets.

[2] "Are Vacations Good For Your Health? The 9-Year Mortality Experience After The Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial" Brooks B. Gump, PHD, MPH, and Karen A. Matthew, PHD

[3]  "Leisure as a coping resource: A test of the job demand-control-support model" Allan D. Joudrey & Jean E. Wallace

 

 

 

Leonie Satori Herbalist Naturopath Lismore

About the Author

Leonie is a Naturopath & Medical Herbalist with a passion for good food, healthy living and of course, herbal medicine. When she is not consulting in her wellness clinic in Lismore or blogging about nutrition, Ayurvedic Medicine or natural health, she is studying yoga, growing her own herbs and vegetables or quietly walking in the natural bush land in Northern Rivers NSW.

Contact our health centre in Lismore to book an appointment with Leonie in our naturopathic clinic.

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