Schools have broken up for summer, the UK is in the middle of what experts are calling one of its longest heatwaves yet and the holiday season is officially in full swing. As the office empties out and colleagues make that last-minute dash to the airport, it got me thinking that we are lucky to have the opportunity to easily travel to new places.
Spain, the US, France and the Caribbean are a few of the places that I have travelled to in recent years, with a holiday booked to explore the Turks and Caicos Islands this summer.
From snorkeling with turtles in Barbados, to exploring the New York City skyline and getting lost taking in the art and architecture in Paris, each destination that I have travelled to has taught me something new and given me a different outlook.
It is easy to forget that the concept of going to an airport and flying to a new destination is a fairly new one. The first commercial flights only became available in the 1950s and even that was a luxury not accessible to most. Nowadays, flight options are endless and people are travelling more than ever.
Travelling can be a great way to switch off from the hustle and bustle of work, enabling you to experience new surroundings and activities that you may not be able to access at home and it can help you to come back to work refreshed and with a new perspective.
According to studies, going on a holiday can not only make you feel better but can help to manage stress, improve sleep patterns and reduce blood pressure. A study by travel experts, Kuoni and researchers from the Nuffield Health charity revealed that after its participants had gone on holiday they returned with visible improvements to their health.
They returned feeling more relaxed and clearer in their life goals and less stressed in comparison to those who had stayed at home. Following tests involving the use of heart monitors and dietary controls the researchers noted that for those who went away, their blood pressure dropped on average by 6% and they came back in better shape, with improved “waist-hip ratios.”
Whether you are travelling overseas this summer or having a staycation, having a holiday to look forward to and the opportunity to explore a new environment can really help to break up the working year and bring balance to your working life.
The AOP have focused on health and wellbeing within the workplace, creating a range of resources for members aimed at reducing stress including a peer support line and an advice workbook for optometrists and managers.
Here at OT, we like to hear about our contributors’ holiday plans – check out our series with CET authors online.
Lastly, if you are thinking about making a nomination for the AOP Awards, you still have time. The deadline is 31 July. Categories to enter include Health and Wellbeing Practice of the Year.
Image credit: Getty