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Why you NEED a vacation

One of the themes of this September issue of magazine is the art of healing. For me, that has always involved taking time off to broaden my mind and relax. It usually includes traveling. My favorite quote is by Saint Augustine of Hippo: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” I believe vacations energize the soul, educate the mind and expand one’s horizons. Clichés to be sure, but so true. I am a firm believer that vacations are a must to maintain wellness.    

Project Time Off ( did a study in early 2016 and found that 55 percent of American workers had unused vacation days in 2015, leaving a total of 658 million of them unused; and of these, 222 million days — or two days per worker — were totally lost and not rolled over. The study went on to find that those who took 11 or more days off were more likely to receive a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took less than 10 days of vacation.

Not only does a vacation boost income, it makes one healthier, relieves stress, promotes creativity, boosts happiness and satisfaction, lowers risk of depression and strengthens bonds.  

A joint study from the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, found women had a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack if they took vacation at least twice a year compared to women who travel every six years or so. For men not taking annual vacations, they had a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent higher risk of heart disease.

Travel relieves stress and the benefits linger for weeks after the trip has ended, leaving one feeling more rested and in a better mood. This sense of wellbeing can last up to five weeks after the vacation. Purposeful engagement with people met during travel is the key to enhancing creativity and reducing burnout at work. Travel helps you discover the best you and reconnect with yourself when you take the time to unplug.  

One’s sense of happiness and satisfaction often begins before the travel has commenced, beginning at the planning stage. One envisions the location, often buys some new clothes for travel, talks to others to gather information about the destination and it all builds excitement for the trip.

The anticipation of a trip, planning and taking the trip can bring families closer together, leading to increased quality of life and greater satisfaction with family relationships. A trip can also help to decrease feelings of depression, hopelessness, and anxiousness, leaving one more rested upon return. Planning is the key. A study found that more than half of those who planned their vacations took all their vacation time, while only 39 percent of non-planners did.  

Whether you plan a trip to the beach or a trip around the world, you will reap the benefits of travel.  Block out your vacation days and take every one of them…for your health’s sake.


Nancy Peltonen serves as President/CEO with The Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on committees for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Palm Bay Maker Faire Committee, and State Small Business Expo Partner, and still finds time to volunteer with many local organizations and travel the world. Nancy’s accolades include 2017 Community Excellence Award, 2016 Business Acceleration Summit Heart of the Community Award, 2013 Woman of Excellence, 2011 & 2014 Woman of the Year for the American Business Women’s Association Space Coast Express Network.


Check out this article in our DIGITAL MAGAZINE.


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