Even though Milton Berle once said "Laughter is an instant vacation", sometimes you need more than a momentary respite from the stress of your life to re-energize. In fact, studies have shown that vacations are actually a healthy way to de-stress, reconnect with your family, revitalize relationships with loved ones, and a great way to take a break from your daily routine. When you wear scrubs to work, that means your day-to-day stress level is high, and a physical and emotional respite is more than a wish…it's a necessity for the sake of your own health and personal relationships. Vacations, therefore, can have more health benefits than you realize.

When you take the time to indulge in activities you enjoy - alone or with those you love - you'll experience greater life satisfaction. This brings about positive emotions and a decrease in the likelihood of depression in your life and a definite stress reduction. Vacations are a great way to separate yourself from your work environment. Taking a mental and emotional break from the stress of your job helps you to come back energized, interested, and with a renewed sense of focus and purpose. Taking a break will actually make you better at your job when you return, reducing errors and improving your attitude toward your job.

Because you can have fun on vacation, adjust your sleep schedule to optimize your rest and relaxation. By reducing your daily responsibility, you can definitely feel your stress melting away. Vacations can help you feel like a kid again when you aren't responsible for much other than experiencing new places, trying new foods and having a good time. You'll also have uninterrupted time to re-connect with friends and family members, renewing those important relationships, for deeper personal satisfaction.

Going on a vacation can also cause an immediate elevation of your mood and attitude. Just planning a vacation creates excitement and anticipation and can improve your mood, with something fun to look forward to. Since many of us also plan a vacation to a sunny or warm location, this means exposure to more sunshine, which can also boost your mood, not to mention the health benefits of an increased level of Vitamin D. Just experiencing new things can refresh your attitude, giving you a new outlook on life.

So with summer approaching quickly, keep in mind that most Americans receive only an average of 12 vacation days a year, with 30 percent of Americans not using all of their vacation time! Make sure you use yours, for your health's sake. Doctor's orders!

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