Why you need to book your next holiday

How long has it been since you last had a proper holiday from work? Plenty of us have annual leave stored up

Here are some of the most compelling reasons to book your next holiday.

Relieve stress

Lying by the beach, sightseeing somewhere new or relaxing with family and friends can do wonders for your stress levels, explains SEEK’s Resident Psychologist Sabina Read.

“Stress takes a toll on you emotionally, physically, psychologically and relationally if you don’t have downtime in your life,” she says. “We all need time to rest and just be, and a holiday is one way to honour the downtime that every human needs.”

Taking a break can also dial down feelings of burnout, which is a type of long-term, work-related stress.

“There are correlations with conditions like heart disease and mental health issues,” Read says. “If you keep running on empty, you can only sustain that for so long before the body says no more.”

Improve relationships

Time away from work allows more time to be in tune with yourself, Read explains.

“There are five pillars of wellbeing and one of the most important is being connected in meaningful ways with others,” she says. “Paying attention to the present moment and being mindful in our relationships is often easier to do when you step away from your day-to-day routine.”

You’ll also have an opportunity to rekindle relationships – with your partner, children, extended family and friends.

“You might have loved ones you haven't spent much time with because you've been burning the midnight oil,” Read says. “Taking a holiday means that you get to fill up that relational cup, which is good for wellbeing.”

Boost energy and mood

Taking a break from your regular routine gives you an opportunity to change things up, which Read says can boost your energy and mood. Even better, she says simply planning a holiday yields the same benefits.

“We often become so attached to the way we think, feel and behave in our day-to-day lives. Planning a holiday allows us to think: Where would I sleep? What would I eat? How would I fill my days? It's a jolt to your normal routine.”

One of the most significant drivers of improved energy and mood is the sense of freedom that planning and taking a holiday can bring – especially at the moment.

“The basic human drivers are freedom, autonomy and choice, and they have not been at high levels over the pandemic,” Read says. “A holiday puts us back in the driver's seat.”

Encourage a fresh perspective

The benefits of taking a holiday extend well beyond the holiday itself and can contribute to a happier, healthier workplace when you return. Almost 80% of people feel that taking a holiday helps them feel more energised for work and aids productivity.

“When you take a break from something, you come back with a clearer perspective and a renewed vigour and enthusiasm,” Read says. “You’re perhaps less attached to some of the negative patterns that you might have started to practice before your holiday.”

The same goes if you’re a manager or business owner, she says. “Just because you're a manager or a business owner, you're not immune to the negative impacts of working long hours and not taking a break. Wellbeing doesn't know the difference if you're the boss or the employee.”

And it doesn’t matter if you holiday close to home or in an exotic overseas locale. “What’s important is having regular commitment to taking a break, to having downtime, to removing yourself from your day-to-day environment,” Read says.

From relaxing by the pool with your kids to camping with mates or travelling somewhere you don’t speak the language, holidays come in many different shapes and sizes. Chances are, you’re probably long overdue for a good break. So why not book that holiday you’ve been daydreaming about?

Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually. Published December 2023.

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