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  • A Long Family Vacation Is the Best Health Investment You Can Make

    Taking vacations could prolong life, according to the findings of a 40-year study.
    by Ana Gonzales .
A Long Family Vacation Is the Best Health Investment You Can Make
  • If you’re one of the many moms who continuously feel guilty about taking a break or wondering if whisking your family away for a holiday is really a good investment, a new study from experts from the Department of Medicine at the University of Helsinki is telling you not to stop doing it. In fact, doing longer than a weekend is encouraged. 

    Findings presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) show that not taking enough time off could raise a person’s risk of dying. The study was based on data collected for over four decades, where they found out that going on vacations cuts the risk of dying by 37 percent. And not just any kind of holiday, but 

    In a press release by the ESC, Professor Timo Strandberg of the University of Helsinki, Finland, who is the co-author of the paper, “Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays. Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress.”

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    Professor Strandberg also told Newsweek, “If you know someone who doesn’t take vacations and works long hours, he or she may be at risk of cardiovascular disease.”

    Yes, today’s fast and demanding lifestyle makes it difficult to take a break. And although most moms know that reducing stress is key to a healthier lifestyle, it’s easier said than done.

    There’s the cost of traveling — from accommodation to the tours, souvenirs, and the food expenses. And then there’s the hassle of figuring out the best time to go, where to go, and actually securing a paid time off from work. With all these to think about, it always seems like NOT taking a break is the easier option. However, the harm caused by an intensive lifestyle with no pauses might just cost more.

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    Don’t feel bad about taking a break.

    Whether it’s a trip back to the family’s province or an out-of-the-country vacation, setting aside some family time isn’t something you and your hubby should feel guilty about. Putting your family’s mental health before anything else is key to managing the physical manifestations of stress like burnout and fatigue. 

    Family vacations help your child’s brain development.

    Child psychotherapist and director of Education and Training at the Centre for Child Mental Health in the UK said that during family vacations you are exercising your child’s mind, particularly the “Play” system and the “Seek” system.

    Once these systems are exercised, they trigger “well-being” chemicals that reduce stress and activate warm, generous feelings towards each other.

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    Traveling can help enhance your child’s imagination.

    Think of your child’s mind as a blank canvass, and you are the artist. Whatever you show your child will stay with him for the rest of his life and mold his choices in the future. A family vacation serves as a happiness anchor that can help him through the challenging parts of his life.

    However, if you give your child the gift of travel, not only do you destress yourself, you allow your child to roam free, see new things, meet new people, and learn different things that can enrich his mind. 

    Taking a break can help you be a better mom (and wife!).

    If you’re too tired from working, taking care of the kids, and keeping a home, chances are, you would be irritable, irrational, and snappy. No mom wants to be the bad guy at home, that’s why it’s important to take a vacation, go on a date with the hubby, or join your girlfriends for a night out of town.

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    It all sounds so glamorous when you put it that way, but if you rest your eyes for longer than your child’s nap time or if you dedicate a few more hours for your hair and nails, you will feel relaxed, empowered, and inspired to do whatever you have to do again.

    A vacation gives you renewed purpose and a chance to re-center your mind, regain your focus, and see things under a new light — taking care of yourself and your family through vacations is no longer JUST an option. It’s necessary for everyone’s general well-being.

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