The Power of Vacation

The term "power" is used with great frequency and, as a result, is often overused quite regularly as well.  However, when it comes to vacation, the term "power" is well used. The Japanese have coined a term, "Karoshi," which roughly translates into "worked to death" or "death due to overwork."   Yes, they have developed an actually term for people who are worked to death.  Now this may seem a bit odd that a wealthy, technologically sophisticated and decidedly modern nation like Japan would be working people, literally, to death, but this is the situation.

As it turns out, all work and no play can do more than make us dull and boring, as it can also lead to death.  The bottom line is that too much stress causes tremendous changes in one's body due to stress hormones.  Stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenalin triggers aging.

A lack of sleep, for example, triggers the production of stress hormones, and working too many hours is often associated with a lack of sleep.  Phrased another way, taking the time to relax is important for both one's body and one's mind as well.

It could thus be argued that a vacation is a form of life extension.  Taking the time to relax translates to reducing one's stress levels and this, of course, literally means less aging and seeing less wrinkles and gray hair!

The old saying, "sleep on it, " where big decisions are concerned is good advice.  In part, this is good advice because it is easier to think clearly when one is rested.  In a similar fashion, taking a vacation will serve to boost your productivity at work and your ability to focus when you return.  This simple fact is something that has been lost on most employers.  However, there is no doubting that rested employees are able to make better decisions, be more creative and simply achieve more.  Perhaps the Karoshi epidemic in Japan will help more employers understand the value of giving employees enough time to rest and recover.

Ultimately, your own work and financial situation may not afford you to take as much vacation time as you like.  On average, workers in the United States, for example, only receive a small fraction of the vacation time of their counterparts in other Western nations.  This means that you may have to find ways to incorporate "mini-vacations" into your weekly or monthly routine so that you can recharge.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply get more sleep.  So turn off the television, log off the Internet and go to bed, as your body will thank you, and you might even become more productive as well!

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