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From Home Furnishing Business

Me Time

Taking Time for Getting Away, Getting Healthy Can Pay Dividends.

When’s the last time you insisted that someone on your staff take a vacation? You might miss them while they’re gone, but you might find yourself with a more productive, satisfied employee upon their return.

At Jerome’s Furniture in San Diego, vacations are part of the planning process.
“I tell everyone on my team to always have a vacation planned,” said Jerome’s CEO Lee Goodman. “It gives you something to look forward to and helps you do your job better.”

Goodman believes the anticipation of a fun time away from the job helps people feel better about what they’re doing, especially when problems pop up. They know they’ll be getting a break.

Vacations are all part of striking a balance between work and life, but research shows a lot of people aren’t taking time off.

According to a Harris Interactive consumer poll last May of 2,634 adults, three in five adults (60 percent) planned to take at least one leisure trip through August. That’s down from the last such polls, 65 percent in 2009 and 66 percent in 2010. The percentage of consumers planning multiple trips also dropped.

VACATIONS CAN IMPROVE HEALTH
Canadian insurance and investment provider Standard Life operates an online wellness center where clients can get advice on a range of lifestyle and health issues. Vacations are part of a healthy lifestyle, according to the company.

The wellness center enumerated ways a vacation can benefit your health.
The very first benefit is reduced stress. Studies have shown a direct link between stress and health conditions such as headaches, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other types of infections acquired as a result of a weaker immune system. Vacations also reduce the incidence of psychological burnout.

Studies also have found a positive relationship between vacations and intellectual function; and that well-rested mind is often more effective.

A vacation can improve your physical health by providing opportunities to catch up on sleep and exercise, two simple remedies for many aches and pains.

All work and know play isn’t good for family relationships. A helps families re-connect in a different setting and to build lasting memories.

Finally, taking time off can be a great opportunity to meet new people, laugh and do the things that you most enjoy.

Rest, relaxation and stress reduction are important for a person’s overall well-being.

Yes, some of this can be accomplished with regular, daily activities like exercise and meditation. However, vacation­—an extended time away from work—is an extremely important part of staying healthy and balanced, according to primary care doctors and mental health professionals.

Jamine Hanson, a psychologist, is adamant about the benefits of vacation on a company’s bottom line and a person’s health.

“The impact taking a vacation has on someone’s mental health is amazing,” she said.

“Most folks return from vacation with better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals. Even a relatively brief time-out can be helpful.”

Another study, this one conducted by travel planning site Expedia showed that the average American earns 18 vacation days a year, but only uses 14 of them.

According to the study, the American worker is sadly behind on the vacation calendar when compared with workers in other countries. Every European country included in the survey reported more vacation days earned and used than Americans.

France is at the top of the list with the average worker earning 37 vacation days and using all but two of them.

So, just what is this doing to our state of mind? Well, Hanson said people who don’t carve out down time for unwinding, may find it harder to relax in the future.

“We require down time so that our bodies can go through a restoration process,” she said. “Only when we are safe from external stresses can our bodies relax enough to truly restore themselves.” HFB

Inset Story:

Wellness Planning
Wellness programs can benefit employees—and their employer—by promoting their health, safety and well-being.
The California Department of Public Health offers the following suggestions for implementing a worksite wellness program.
• Why develop a wellness program?
A wellness program may improve staff health, morale and productivity.
• What are some components of a wellness program?
A program may include some or all of these components: wellness newsletter, health risk assessments, health screenings, workshops on wellness issues, walking groups, health fairs, healthy potlucks and healthy snacks for meetings and breaks, physical activity breaks, fitness classes, smoking cessation classes; and incentives such as water bottles, insulated lunch bags, drink coolers, tote bags, stress balls, pedometers and cook books.
• How do you start a wellness program?
First, develop an advisory committee that represents the interests of employees and management.Second, conduct a needs and resource assessment: Determine employee needs, interests, concerns and schedules; identify available space and facilities; determine employer liability under existing health insurance, property owners’ insurance, workers’ compensation to pay, time frames and relevant skills; and identify relevant partner organizations.
Third, develop program components and activities based on the findings of the needs assessment: Determine if services will be provided by agency personnel, consultants or local community agencies; partner with other health-related non-profits organizations to broaden program offerings; develop a written document of program components and expected outcomes; develop formal policies for administering the program; and develop an evaluation plan for the program to specify how impact will be measured (include cost, participation rate, employee satisfaction, employee behavior changes and impact on participant education).

Fourth, include incentives, such as employee release time or items such as pedometers or water bottles, to encourage employee participation.
• Implement the program.
• Evaluate the program.



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