Can taking a holiday increase life expectancy?

01 May 2018

Can taking a holiday increase life expectancy?

When was the last time you took a proper holiday? Do you use all your annual leave entitlement to rest and recharge? If you don’t you’re not alone. According to a global study “New Zealand workers are among the most holiday deprived in the world”.

More concerning is the fact that people that don’t take holidays have a higher risk of pressure related illnesses and health problems, and are also more likely to die younger.

How Can Prolonged Pressured Affect You?

You may love your job but being a workaholic doesn’t promote a healthy work-life balance. Working longer hours doesn’t actually translate into higher productivity. Studies have shown that people are usually more productive after they’ve come back from a holiday.

Workaholics are also prone to seeing holidays as a sign of weakness, which doesn’t help the issue. If you’re constantly pressured you can start experiencing physical symptoms, such as body aches, ulcers and insomnia, at the lower end of the scale. At the higher end, coronary heart disease and heart attacks are on the cards.

Life can be a juggling act for many, long working hours, small children, family worries to name a few. Being on the go and time-poor can lead to changes in wellbeing. Traffic congestion, deadlines, worries about money and relationships can lead to feeling unwell.

How Can Holidays Help Pressure?

A holiday is like an instant antidote for pressure. After a couple of days, the brain is recharged, you feel more creative and sleep improves. Holidays are also mood boosters, and people feel more optimistic and happier about life in general. The health benefits can also remain up to two months after you return to work.

So next time you feel guilty about taking time off, don’t. You’ve earned the time off like everyone else and, by law, you are entitled to at least four weeks' paid annual holidays each year after a year of working at a company.

What Kind of Holiday to Take?

The great thing about holidays they can be as adventurous or low key as you want them to be. You don’t have to leave the country, a staycation at home with spa treatments and day trips to local attractions can be just as beneficial. But make sure you’re not contactable by work during this time and don’t mention you’ll be at home on your out of office email.

Some tips to think about when planning and taking a holiday:

  • Try to keep up with healthy eating and exercising.
  • Set realistic travel goals so you don’t exhaust yourself.
  • Postpone or minimise your work commitments when away.
  • Unplug from devices and enjoy being in the moment.
  • Plan an easy workload on your return to work.

Feeling pressured? Health insurance may be able to help. If you need an illness or wellness check, go to nib’s Everyday health insurance policy. We cover a range of services such as acupuncture, physiotherapy, assistance with dental and optical care, GP visits and a benefit to assist with mental health. All of these are good ways to manage the pressures of life and living, so it doesn’t affect you long term. Jump online now to get a free no obligation quote.