Give your brain a break and take a holiday
August, 22 2019
It’s something you hear all the time – and perhaps it’s something you also say or think to yourself: “I could really use a holiday!” It’s something I find myself saying too, but at the same time I wonder what it is that can make you feel like you really need a holiday. Because…is a holiday really good for you? Or is it in fact counterproductive? I decided to dive into the science – and I have good news for all the holiday lovers out there. The conclusion is: taking a holiday is good for you!
Without boring you with too much science – just a little bit of information about your brain. Although your brain isn’t a muscle, it does need some time to rest and recover from all the work it does during the day. Now – I can see you thinking: “but doesn’t your brain remain active, even if you’re on holiday?” It does. But because you do completely different things when you’re on holiday, your brain has time for the things you’ve neglected for the rest the year.
Holidays make you more creative
As soon as you’re on holiday, you no longer need to focus on just one thing. And your brain loves that! No more deadlines for that one important project, no need to be at home on time to have a quick bite to eat before taking the kids to the football club. There’s finally time to recover faded memories and long-forgotten information, and time to connect them in a different way.
This is what your brain loves to do. And because you’re in a different environment, and doing different things to what you normally do, other parts of your brain are activated and also stimulated. It’s as if your mind takes a nice long walk, and this allows you to make different connections – quite often it also leads to new, creative ideas. Let this creative process take its course!
The ideal reward
So – being on holiday makes your brain more creative, but the prospect of going on holiday makes your brain able to focus better and for longer. You could compare it to a running competition. If you have to run for a long time, you’ll get tired. But when the finish line is in sight, you often get that little bit of motivation that allows you to keep going. Your brain works in the same way. Your brain gets tired from everything it needs to do during the day, too. But the prospect of a holiday can work wonders.
A study by the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour showed that people can concentrate for longer if they are offered a reward at the moment that their brain starts to get tired and they are less able to concentrate. And what better reward is there than a holiday? Looking forward to a holiday increases dopamine levels (dopamine is known as the feel-good hormone) and it gives you that little extra motivation to keep going. So, book your holiday in good time, so that you can enjoy looking forward to it for that bit longer!
Extra bonus for campers
A holiday is good for you, but a camping holiday is even better. That’s because camping means holidaying outdoors. Camping doesn’t just feel good, camping makes you happier and healthier!
Take a break!
We’ve discovered that your brain needs a holiday from time to time. So take a break and get away from it all if you can! Is your boss asking if you really need that holiday? Then tell them that a holiday has benefits for both of you. While you’re looking forward to your holiday, you’ll be able to work more effectively. And once you’re back from your holiday, you’ll be full of creative ideas and new insights. Win-win!