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How Vacations Help You Stay Healthy…Plus Ideas for Relaxing Staycations!

How Vacations Help You Stay Healthy…Plus Ideas for Relaxing Staycations!

Ah,  vacations. Seems like we’re all constantly dreaming of our next getaway. Turns out there’s a good reason for wanting more time off or away. Science says vacations help you stay healthy, even staycations have their benefits! Here’s how:

Vacations relieve stress.

The pressures of everyday life can set off stress hormones including cortisol and epinephrine. Over time, these same hormones can lead to depression, weight gain, poor sleep habits, and other serious health problems. 

Getting away makes you feel happier.

You know how you instantly get in a better mood the minute you hit the road to begin a vacation? That feel-good mood often carries on for weeks after as a post-vacation buzz. The key to staying happy is about how often you get away rather than how long. 

Time off improves your heart health.

Taking time off from work can reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, better known as heart disease. According to WebMD, one study shows that time off for a staycation is linked to lowered blood sugar levels and higher levels of good cholesterol. 

Vacations bring better sleep.

Plan your trip in advance for better sleep before, during, and after your vacation. Take advantage of the break from everyday chores and responsibilities and get in as many naps and late sleep as possible. 

Getaways help you recharge your energy and focus.

Having trouble concentrating at work? It’s time for a vacation. Even a staycation can leave you re-energized and ready to tackle any task coming your way.

Time off strengthens your immune system.

Remember those stress hormones we mentioned earlier? Those hormones can also weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infections and other illnesses. Taking a break helps keep those hormones in check.

Vacations help you live longer.

From reducing your risk of infections and conditions like heart disease to lowering your stress level, time off or away from the everyday routine can lengthen your lifespan. 

Trips strengthen relationships.

Studies have shown that couples who travel together are happier than those who don’t and are both individually more physically and mentally fit than others. If your relationship with your spouse or another loved one could use room for improvement, try traveling together for the ultimate bonding experience. 

Relaxing Staycations

We get it. There isn’t always room in the budget to save up for a vacation. Good thing there are plenty of staycation ideas that are fun, relaxing, and still offer a break from everyday life. Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Visit your local and state parks. We promise there is a state park within a short driving distance of your hometown. And if it’s still too far, pack a picnic and head to your favorite local park to spend the day basking in the sunlight and feeding ducks. In North Mississippi, try your hand at disc golf at Tombigbee State Park just south of Tupelo or canoe Bear Creek or hike a trail at Tishomingo State Park in Tishomingo County. Camp out at Trace State Park in Belden or hit the highway to Holly Springs for a fun day at Wall Doxey State Park. Wall Doxey and JP Coleman, located at the northeasternmost tip of Mississippi are especially fun for boaters. 
  • Host a backyard campout. Invite a few friends or keep it just the family. Leave the household responsibilities inside, gather your camping gear, and head out back to set up camp. This is possibly the easiest camping trip you’ll ever take because everything you need is already there! You may think your backyard isn’t far away enough but just getting outside improves your mood and your health. 
  • Plan a no-connection day or weekend. Tell your friends and loved ones that you’re cutting ties with all things digital for a day or a weekend if you can swing it. Spend the day reading a book, practicing a hobby, or channeling your creative side. We know you may need to check your phone occasionally for missed calls or texts, but keep those phone checks to a minimum. Simply unplugging for a while can help you recharge and refocus.
  • “Tour” a nearby town. Mississippi and all of the great states that make America have a slew of amazing little towns that are full of surprises. Pick a nearby town on the map and start researching things to do, places to eat and shop, and other fun adventures. New Albany is a great place right here in North Mississippi that offers unique shopping and eating opportunities along with fun outdoor activities like the Tanglefoot Trail. Or you can travel a little closer to Tupelo, North Mississippi’s cultural hub and home of the King of Rock n Roll. Dine on some of the best food in the state, visit the Elvis Presley Museum and Birthplace, and spend some time at Veterans or Ballard Park. 

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