“Vacations are just what the doctor ordered”
Research shows that vacations provide stress relief that’s critical to longevity
For the Summit Daily
Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Breckenridge Grand Vacations
Work is consistently ranked as one of the top causes of stress for Americans, yet workers often let too many of their hard-earned vacation days go unused each year.
The State of American Vacation, an annual survey of American workers’ vacation habits conducted by Project Time Off, shows that more than half of Americans are not using all of their paid time off — there were 768 million unused vacation days in 2018. Americans took an average of 17.4 days of vacation in 2018 — slightly more than the average of 17.2 in 2017, but still way down from the average of 20.3 days taken between 1976 to 2000.
If work is one of our main causes of stress in life — according to the annual Stress in America survey — why aren’t we taking enough time away from it to unwind?
Breckenridge is a place that offers countless ways to unwind. Whether you want outdoor recreation or total relaxation, it’s a worthy destination to put those vacation days to use.
“We’re huge proponents of why vacations play a major role in our health,” said Sarah Jo Masseria, manager of Creative Services for Breckenridge Grand Vacations. “Vacations are just what the doctor ordered.”
Nourishing the mind, body and soul
The American Psychological Association recommends taking time to replenish by “switching off” from work in order to avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout.
“Don’t let your vacation days go to waste. When possible, take time off to relax and unwind, so you come back to work feeling reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best,” recommends the American Psychological Association. “When you’re not able to take time off, get a quick boost by turning off your smartphone and focusing your attention on non-work activities for a while.”
When people come to spend a week in Breckenridge, Masseria said they’re looking for an unforgettable experience. Breckenridge Grand Vacations has activities departments that provide guests with the tools they need to go out and enjoy the mountains, or stay in and get pampered at the spa.
In-house activities include crafts such as jewelry and candle-making, canvas painting, beer tasting and more. These activities are designed to bring out the creativity in those who have “checked out” from the stresses of real life.
And for those looking to increase their heart rates a bit more, Breckenridge Grand Vacations’ resorts can arrange hikes, snowmobiling, zip lining, horseback riding, dog sledding and more.
“Being active and staying active is super important in terms of living longer and being healthy, both physically and mentally,” said Deb Edwards, the BGV Gives program manager at Breckenridge Grand Vacations. “And with the arts, we also have so many opportunities for mental stimulation. The cultural opportunities we have here are just as important as getting out and being active in our environment.”
Living and breathing the lifestyle
Summit County’s life expectancy is the highest in the nation, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study noted Summit County’s high education level, high income, easy access to medical care, level of physical activity and low obesity rate as reasons for residents’ longevity.
Breckenridge Grand Vacations staff practice what they preach. Masseria said the company has a wellness initiative that encourages a healthy work-life balance.
“It translates,” she said. “We want to share that with our guests when they come to visit. We want them to enjoy all the things that we moved here for.”
From utilizing indoor fitness centers or recreating outside, to relaxing by the pool, vacations in places like Breckenridge are about rejuvenation.
“Wellness on vacation is about taking a step back, resting and relaxing from the really hectic life you lead back where you live, and spending time with friends and family,” Edwards said. “When you surround yourself with friends and family, that’s also a big piece of living a long, well life.”
Masseria describes Breckenridge Grand Vacations as being in “the smile business,” which turns out to be yet another predictor of longevity. Research shows that smiling can lift our moods, lengthen our lives, fight off stress and more.
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