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A Musical Invocation of the Need to Take a Vacation

Taking a vacation supports your mental health

In the 1980s, some of the biggest female performers in popular music were in the mood to take a vacation.

The Go-Gos were pretty straight forward about it in the band’s 1982 hit titled, appropriately enough, “Vacation”:

Vacation, all I ever wanted
Vacation, had to get away

Madonna saw value in claiming back even a single day for relaxation and celebration in her 1983 hit “Holiday”:

If we took a holiday

Took some time to celebrate

Just one day out of life

It would be, it would be so nice

That same year, Cindy Lauper reminded us that “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” For Lauper, that might just mean leaving work at work and holding onto some time for oneself—and leaving overly possessive boys behind.

Some boys take a beautiful girl

And hide her away from the rest o’ the world

I wanna be the one to walk in the sun

Oh girls, they wanna have fun

Oh girls just wanna have

That’s all they really want

Is some fun

When the workin’ day is done

Oh girls, they wanna have fun

Oh girls just wanna have fun

Lest we think this longing for some solid time off was an early ’80s phenomenon, Janet Jackson came along in 1989 to suggest that it would be a good idea to enjoy an “Escapade.”

My mind’s tired

I’ve worked so hard all week

Ooh-ooh, all week

Cashed my check, I’m ready to go

I promise you, I’ll show you such a good time

Come on baby, let’s get away

Let’s save our troubles for another day

Come go with me, we’ve got it made

Let me take you on an escapade

Let’s go

Now odds are you did not come to this blog looking for a countdown of the greatest vacation songs by female artists in the 1980s. Fair enough. Still and all, these women were onto something. One of the best ways you can support your mental health is to make sure you take some time off for yourself.

A vacation might not be all you ever wanted, but it should be something you are intentional about nonetheless.

The Mental Health Benefits of Taking Time Off

Taking a vacation supports your mental health in a number of key ways—and those benefits start before your time away even begins. That is because the process of planning a vacation can actually increase your level of happiness. And that happiness carries over into the vacation itself and lingers even after your break is over.

In addition, if you travel with family or friends, you have the opportunity to strengthen relationships and to create shared memories. Strong, supportive relationships can provide a firm foundation for good mental health.

There are additional benefits as well. Vacations are linked to lowered levels of anxiety and also seem to lessen the likelihood that you will suffer a heart attack or develop heart disease. Your physical and mental health are inextricably linked, so those benefits related to your heart are also good for your mind.

Disconnecting From Work is the Key

You may be thinking to yourself that all of this sounds great, but that you can’t really take a “real” vacation. Maybe it is hard to get time off or perhaps money is tight. Let’s look back to our 1980s divas for a good reminder that it isn’t necessarily the extravagance or the expense that makes taking a break a worthwhile endeavor.

While the Go-Gos sing about what we might think of as a traditional vacation (complete with a surprise romance!), Madonna and Jackson’s suggested holiday or escapade is “just one day out of life” or a weekend adventure. As for Lauper, she makes a case for some solid relaxation “when the working day is done.”

Those shorter breaks—whether carefully planned or more spontaneous—can provide the same benefits as a longer trip away. The trick is to make sure you build time into your schedule that is dedicated to these breaks so that you don’t let work responsibilities steal them away from you. It might seem odd to build relaxation into your schedule, but often it is the only way to ensure you won’t let other responsibilities intrude on your breaks.

When You Need Us, You’ll Find Us Hard at Work

At Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health in Colorado, we work hard to help everyone we serve improve their overall mental well-being—and to maintain those improvements over time. If you are experiencing the symptoms of a mental health disorder, we are ready to help with personalized care grounded in expertise, experience, and compassion. We encourage you to take some time for yourself to get the help you need to improve your overall quality of life. When you are ready to take the first step, we are ready to get to work. 

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