Summer is here and all your 9-to-5 friends are planning trips to corona-safe destinations. Can I afford to take a vacation? You ask.
A short vacation, or even staycation, can refresh the mind and lead to a net gain in well-being and productivity. So the real question you should ask is,
Can you afford not to take a vacation?
Here are 9 signs it’s time to put your feet up and sip some piña coladas this summer.
😬 1. You’re constantly stressed
Your body releases stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine whenever it senses danger. But the everyday pressures of freelance life can set off the exact same hormones. Oh no!
If stressors are always present, your fight-or-flight impulse stays switched on. Over time, this stress takes a serious toll on your well-being, making you more prone to depression, weight gain, poor sleeping habits and other health problems. The good news? A short break from work can help your body make a full recovery.
Did you know…
Your brain gets used to not having breaks. If you’re constantly stressed, the neural pathways that create feelings of calm go unused and weaken over time. Eventually, you’ll find it harder to switch into relaxation mode – even outside of work. Take some time off to give those pathways the traffic they deserve.
😿 2. You’re feeling down
Simply planning a vacation boosts happiness. That’s right, research shows that browsing Airbnbs and reading TripAdvisor reviews (even the negative ones) lets you feel the positive effects up to eight weeks before your trip!
Your freelance life might be dreamy, but chances are your vacation will be more fun. Whatever gain in happiness you enjoy during the planning phase will likely extend across the vacation itself. Sadly, the post-trip buzz does not last so long.
Note: What seems to matter is how often you vacation, not the length of your getaways.
💔 3. Your heart goes wah wahh, not thump thump
We know your business is close to your heart. But do you know what’s even closer to your heart? Your actual heart. Taking an opportunity to de-stress with a vacation can have a big positive impact on your heart’s health. Studies link even a short staycation to lower a risk of heart attack – by up to 30% in men and 50% in women. Vacations can also contribute to lowered blood sugar levels and more HDL (‘good’ cholesterol).
💤 4. You’re not getting enough zzz
Self-employment can leave you overworked and overtired. When you factor in all the normal worries of daily life outside of work, you may find yourself having difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Vacations offer a precious chance to catch up on much needed snoozing. A few lie-ins and catnaps can work wonders for your sense of well-being. Plus, if you plan your trip well in advance, you’ll sleep better before, during and after your holiday.
How do you sleep at night?
Ever wondered about the true relationship between self-employment and sleep? Our article tells the real story on how freelancers sleep.
🌫️ 5. You lack focus
Has everything gone misty? When your brain is exhausted, it becomes harder to think, reason and focus.
Constant stress is the number one cause of brain fog, causing memory problems and a lack of mental clarity, concentration and focus. It’s different from a Youtube addiction, but equally frustrating when it comes to staying on task.
A short time away from freelancing can restore your mind to peak condition. The impact? You’ll become more productive both at work and outside of it.
🤧 6. You sneeze a lot
Everyone dreads a sneezing fit these days, when even innocent allergies are met with reproachful looks in public. Remember how stress hormones can send your adrenal system into overdrive? Over time this also weakens your immune system, making you more prone to illnesses such as cold and flu. Vacations give your body a chance to bounce back.
👩❤️👩 7. The physical side of your love life is lacking
What’s a banking institution doing talking about sex? Hear us out. Those same stress hormones that make your heart hurt can dampen arousal and libido in both men and women. When you de-stress with a vacation, the effects reverse. Cue a renewed sense of spontaneity and adventurousness!
If you’re partnered up on vacation, you’ll most likely snuggle at the very least. Simply hugging is clinically proven to make you feel better by releasing dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin – as well as offer myriad other health benefits.
🍞 8. Your relationship has grown stale
Even the best relationships can start to feel stale if you spend too much time in one place. And when that place is a dining room that doubles as your freelancing home office, it might be time to escape (the office, not the relationship!).
According to some studies, couples who travel together are on average happier and more satisfied than those who don’t. Making new memories with a loved one reinforces vital social bonds and can help you stay mentally and physically sharp.
🕚 9. You want to live longer
Okay, we haven’t got studies to back this one up. But it makes intuitive sense. If you take routine vacations, the chances of having your days cut short by a stress-induced health complication go down. So if you want to live a long and happy life, give yourself a break.
One last note on freelance vacations
The whole point of taking a break is not to be more productive when you get back, although this is a welcome side-effect. Recently, the narrative around burnout has taken a worrying turn towards ‘avoid burnout so you can work more’. This is missing the point.
Here at Holvi, we’re all about helping you find work life balance. That means finding a sustainable mix of work and life that supports your individual mental and physical well-being. Taking vacations is just one part of this.
Not sure how to get away? Read our article on how to take a vacation as a freelancer.