Take a Summer Break

Vacation boosts your mind and health.

Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to plan a much-needed vacation. It doesn’t matter if your vacation includes boots, tents, and backpacks, or flats, swimsuits, and beach bags … there’s fun for everyone somewhere.

You may be telling yourself that you don’t have time for a vacation, that your workload will pile up while you’re gone, or maybe that a week of bliss will only amount to more stress upon return … and you’re not alone. According to the workforce-consulting firm, Right Management, a whopping 70 percent of Americans don’t take advantage of their allotted vacation time! The main reason for this lack of vacation time is fear of slacking job performance. But wait—this is simply not true!

Those who take vacations are much less likely to suffer from burnout, experience more creativity in their work and personal life, and generally find themselves leading a more fulfilling life. In fact, researchers have found that those who vacation annually have lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones, and, surprisingly, smaller waistlines. The added benefit of beginning work refreshed and with a positive attitude will make up for the time you take off from work. While the short-term benefits of a vacation (sleeping in, soaking up sun, trying new foods, meeting new people, and seeing new sights) might wear off, the health benefits certainly do not.

So where do you want to go? If you admire the beauty and solitude of nature, the Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) are an ideal place to recharge your battery. Once you’re reenergized, horseback riding, kayaking, and mountain biking are just a few activities to partake in at the various parks.

Perhaps you’re looking for a vacation the kids will enjoy, too. Yellowstone National Park has been a family favorite for over one hundred years. You can bike, camp, watch the Old Faithful Geyser erupt, fish, view wildlife such as bison and bears, or bird watch.

If you’d truly like to kick back and relax without expending too much energy on rugged outdoor activities, the notion of ecotourism has become quite popular in the US and across the globe. Simply visiting beautiful, pristine natural wonders can provide the break you need to boost your mood and health.