How to relieve Stress: 7 real benefits of taking a holiday. (And Why Holidays Are Essential for Pharmacy Owners)

Owning a business comes with stress and often tiredness. Pharmacy owners most certainly can relate. That is why I took the time to research the benefits of taking a holiday. (So you then really have no excuse).

A lesson learned by 2 business owners.


"I was 35 and fast approaching burnout.  Too much unrelieved stressed, too much to do and no time to do it all.  I was too busy for my good, and I didn’t have time for a holiday.

My wife and I were having dinner with close friends who also owned and operated their businesses.  We talked about how tired we were and how we didn’t have time for a holiday.  We decided that we needed a break.

The next day I went to a travel agent and booked and purchased four tickets to Honk Kong for ten days.  I then called my friend telling him the dates we would be travelling and that he owed me for the airfare and accommodation.  I didn’t leave us with any wriggle room."

That was 30 years ago, and our businesses survived.  Alan Cox Perth Western Australia

The importance of holidays and stress reduction can't be underestimated

The importance of holidays is undeniable because it gives your mind a chance to declutter and, with the right sort of holiday, reduce your stress.

Elizabeth Scott, a stress management expert, has this to say.

"Letting stress build up can be unhealthy in several ways. The body is designed to respond to short bursts of stress but prolonged when stress is prolonged; the stress response is triggered on a regular basis -- as can happen in a stressful job or a conflict-ridden relationship --the situation turns into one of chronic stress, where the real health problems set in.

When our allostatic load, or overall level of stress, accumulates to a certain level, stress can just snowball because we're constantly in a state of reactivity. At this point, even positive events can feel overwhelming if they take energy to enjoy, and we're not able to respond from a place of strength and wisdom, but rather from a place of anxiety, or we work on auto-pilot. "

It doesn’t need to be a long break

Vacations and even shorter breaks where we get some physical and psychological  ‘space' from the demands of life can bring many rewards.

Obviously, we feel less stress when we're not in a stressful environment. But vacations bring more than that: they interrupt the cycle of stress that can lead to overwhelm.

"Holidays give us a break from chronic stress so we can restore ourselves physically and mentally to a healthier place.

Stressed woman

Because a chronically-triggered stress response can lead to decreased creativity, memory problems, mild cognitive impairment and other issues, this break in the stress cycle can lead to sharper thinking and increased creativity that can spill into all areas of our lives.

Regular breaks make us better at our jobs, more available in our relationships, more energetic with our families, and more able to enjoy life for a prolonged amount of time after we return. "

The 7 very real and proven benefits of taking a Holiday:

  • Holidays promote creative thinking
  • Stave off burnout
  • Keep you healthy
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Improve your job performance
  • Relieve stress in a way that lasts
  • Leave you refreshed and ready for action

The bottom line

The bottom line is that taking a good amount of time away from the stresses of daily life can give us the break we need so that we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D

"Chronic stress takes its toll in part on our body's ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even ability to avoid injury. When you're stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill, your arteries take a beating, and you're more likely to have an accident. Your sleep will suffer, you won't digest your food as well, and even the genetic material in the cells of your body may start to become altered in a bad way. Mentally, not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse, and you'll make poorer decisions. You'll also be less fun to be with, causing you to become more isolated, lonely, and depressed."

The business case for having a holiday

Many (if not most) business owners find it difficult to find the ‘right’ time to take a holiday.

Pamela Murray-Jones, a business coach, specialising in strategy, leadership and organisational wellbeing, says planning properly for taking a break is the key to making it work for business owners.

"I sometimes see business owners who think of a holiday for themselves as 'money lost'. You need to build your holiday into your income structure, just as you do for any employee salary package," she explains. "And if you time it around your quietest period, you'll find it a lot easier to enjoy the time off."

Holidays lead to greater productivity

 Not only are you more productive after a break, but holidays also make you more focused in the lead-up because you have a deadline to work to.

Finding the right balance

"Glen Peterson, Director at LJ Hooker Commercial Parramatta and Blacktown believes it's critical for business owners and their staff to take a break, to stay fresh and get some balance in their lives."

He goes on to say that it may not be an overseas holiday but time spent at home with the kids enjoying some activities with them.

You get a new perspective on your business

One of the recurring themes in this article is the benefit of insights.

"Big problems don't get solved while you're busy running the day-to-day of your business," says Murray-Jones. "You need to take the time to reflect and learn. Holidays give you great thinking time, allowing you to free your mind of the smaller day-to-day operational details, phone calls and emails so you can reflect on some of the bigger issues you're dealing with."

In a 2006 Ernst & Young research study, the firm found that for every extra 10 hours of holiday its employees took, average annual performance ratings rose eight per cent.

Murray-Jones believes the key is achieving a balanced state of mind, so you are in the best position to navigate life's professional and personal ups and downs.

“Work is part of your life. So are a lot of other things – health, relationships and family. You need to look at the whole circle. It's not just work on one side, life on the other. The balance is in your mind – if you're not overwhelmed, you can be more focused in all aspects of your life."

Are you going to take a holiday?

If you are planning to take a holiday make sure that it isn’t jammed pack with too much tourism activity, time spent in endless lines and security checks at airports, checking into hotels and strewams of heavy traffic.

Have a fun holiday

Instead spent plenty of time having fun with your family, walk on the beach and watch the sunset, feel the sand between your toes enjoying life then you can reap the benefits of looking and feeling younger, increased productivity, longer life, and happier relationships at home and work.

Short breaks help too

Canadian researchers Joudrey and Wallace studied a sample of 900 lawyers and found active leisure pursuits such as golf or surfing help to buffer job stress. It's understood that taking a holiday gives you a better life perspective and motivates you to achieve your goals. However, a Netherlands study showed there is no happiness gain after a holiday if there was moderate to high travel-related stress, such as long airport delays and traffic jams.

So, if you want to make better decisions, increase your ability to solve problems and ‘think outside the box’ then you really need to take a holiday - regularly.

You already know that some stress is good for you. It is what makes the world go around.

Too much stress?

But, while some stress is important for your survival and ability to perform on a daily basis, too much stress prevents you from being able to think clearly and creatively and it does prevent good decision making.

Too much stress leads to poor decisions, poor problem-solving ability,  relationship breakdown and poor health. All of which will end up costing you heaps of money.

The benefits of taking regular short breaks and a longer holiday are indisputable. As in all things, the decision is yours.

As a reminder here are the 7 very real and proven benefits of taking a Holiday:

  • Promote creative thinking
  • Stave off burnout
  • Keep you healthy
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Improve your job performance
  • Relieve stress in way that lasts
  • Leave you refreshed and ready for action

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