Take a Vacation, It’s What the Doctor Ordered

HOUSTON (July 27, 2009) – When was the last time you went on a vacation? If you have to stop and think about it, it’s been way too long.

If you need encouragement to take a week or two off, consider the health benefits a vacation can bring.

“Vacations are great for a person’s emotional and physical health,” Dr. Britta Ostermeyer, chief of Psychiatry at Ben Taub General Hospital. “We all need to break away from our everyday jobs and stresses. Most importantly, we have to remember to take care of ourselves.”

It’s no surprise Americans work long hours.

According to Expedia’s 2009 Vacation Deprivation Survey, 49.4 million Americans are vacation deprived; and in 2009 it’s estimated Americans will give back a total of $436 million vacation days.

With deadlines and projects looming, stress in the workplace is everywhere and too much of it can affect your health and lead to burnout.

“Stress affects people different ways,” Ostermeyer said. “Some people get edgy, fatigued and have a short temper, and others might fly off the handle and have trouble sleeping. A worst-case scenario is people get burned-out.”

Taking a vacation –– whether a long weekend or two weeks –– allows people to “re-charge their batteries.” It reduces the pressures of everyday life, eliminates stress and gives them the freedom to do what they want.

On vacation, people are able to discover and explore new places. They try new things –– all of which stimulates the mind. Vacations also give people a chance to reconnect with friends and family.

“The only requirement for a vacation is to relax,” Ostermeyer said. “If you take your BlackBerry® with you, it’s not really a vacation. You’re likely still going to work, just from a different location.”

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