Vacationing with your girlfriends is important. Even science says so.
There's a wealth of research that supports your upcoming girls' trip — or the trip you've been perpetually postponing and really should take. Besides the fact that it's likely long overdue, here are five science-backed reasons that you and your friends should get away together.
1. Vacationing, especially with friends, will help your health.
The fact of the matter is that vacationing is good for your health, and, when you add friends into the mix, it only gets better. It's no secret that vacation time destresses you. Spending time in nature, for example, can help relieve anxiety. Heck, regardless of where you go on your trip, a vacation can even make you live longer.
Vacation with some friends, and it'll help your health even more. Researchers have found that social support from friendship actually strengthens the immune system, which can help reduce your risk of illnesses including cardiovascular diseases, arthritis and even some cancers. Other research even says that, when you spend more time with friends, your body produces less of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can have a calming effect.
So take the girls' trip — you can all use it.
2. You need a morale boost to help your career.
Regardless of your physical health, a vacation with your friends can simply boost your overall morale, too. And, when you start feeling more satisfied at work, you'll likely perform better.
According to “An Assessment of Paid Time Off in the US,” commissioned by the US Travel Association, taking time off actually leads to higher productivity and overall morale. Another 2011 Intuit study suggests that 82 percent of small business owners actually experienced an increase in job performance upon their returns to work.
And because you know that your friends can help you unwind on that vacation, you'll come back to the office feeling absolutely rejuvenated.
3. You're all really just helping the job market.
By taking a girls' trip with your friends, really, you're all helping out the whole job market.
Project: Time Off senior director and report author, Katie Denis, has told Fairygodboss before that the increase in usage of paid time off in 2016 provided an estimated $37 billion total impact to the US economy. But more than half (54 percent) of employees still ended the year with unused time — and, as such, these forfeited days cost an estimated $66.4 billion in lost benefits. That equates to $604 per employee.
Project: Time Off estimates the potential to create 1.8 million jobs and generate $70 billion in additional income for American workers if people like you and your girlfriends actually took advantage of your vacation time. So just think about what your girls' trip will do for the greater good.
4. Going somewhere beachy with friends will amp up your happiness.
There are a wealth of reasons why you should go on vacation to amp up your happiness. A study released by the American Psychological Association concluded that a vacation that'll remove you and your friends away from the activities and environments that you all associated with stress and anxiety will, in turn reduce stress. And, as such, make you feel happier.
If you take a girls' trip somewhere beachy (or anywhere where you can relax by water), you may feel even better. That's because, according to research from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, "blue space" like oceans, lakes and rivers, actually has greater positive effects on people than "green space" like parks and lawns. And, in another more recent study, researchers found that people who live in sight of water have lower levels of psychological stress. Even another 2011 study found that trips to the ocean reduce stress, increase creativity and ease feelings of depression and anxiety.
Couples with a group of girlfriends (studies show that socializing with happy people can rub off on you!), a beach trip could be just what you need.
5. Girlfriends are great confidence boosters.
If you're human, you've probably doubted yourself, your abilities, your whole career, your entire lifestyle, your relationship, some small decision, etc. at some point. Everyone can benefit from a genuine confidence boost, especially in a world where women are often damned if they do, damned if they don't.
And girlfriends are great for that. Supportive friends can make you feel more confident by offering you reassurance, affirmation, praise, reminders of who you are and/or that you are loved and deserving, an ear, a shoulder, etc. whenever you're feeling unsure. So spend some time away with one another, away from the unsolicited yet pervasive opinions and judgments and social expectations of others, so you can really listen to each other.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.