Vacation: It’s Not A Four-Letter Word.

It’s June, and while not officially summer according to the calendar, it sure feels like it with the heat and sunshine that’s poured down on our corn and soybean fields this week.

The USDA Crop Progress report released on Tuesday showed that 92% of the total U.S. corn crop was planted. Now, that percentage is likely even higher. You can read the full report here and check on the planting progress state-by-state.

With planting season about to wrap up, some of you may schedule time away from the farm. I hesitate to use the word vacation, because so many of you don’t break from your routines to take time off and catch your breath. Your families probably don’t get that chance, either.

That was certainly true in my family. I don’t remember us ever taking a family vacation. I’m sure part of the reason was my folks didn’t believe we had the financial resources to take one. I think the bigger reason, though, was they thought of a vacation as being totally unneeded and a luxury.

Today, research indicates otherwise. Lolly Daskal, President and CEO of Lead From Within consultancy group, shares four reasons to take a vacation.

  1. Stress reduction. A study by the American Psychological Association concluded that vacations work to reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety.
  2. Heart disease prevention. A host of studies have highlighted the cardiovascular health benefits of taking a vacation. In one, men at risk for heart disease who skipped vacations for five consecutive years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least a week off each year.
  3. Improved productivity. Professional services firm Ernst & Young conducted an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation time employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8 percent. Another study by the Boston Consulting Group found that high-level professionals who were required to take time off were significantly more productive overall than those who spent more time working. When you're more productive, you're happier, and when you're happier, you excel at what you do.
  4. Better sleep. A lack of high-quality sleep leads to less focus, less alertness, impaired memory, an increased likelihood of accidents and a decreased quality of life. Researchers say that vacations can help interrupt the habits that disrupt sleep, like working late into the night or watching a backlit screen before bed.

If you’re not willing to take a vacation for yourself, then please do it for your family. Spending even a few days with your family away from the farm will emphasize to them how incredibly important each member is to you. You’ll also create some great memories that you can talk about together for years to come. Even small mishaps can make for fun family memories (Let me tell you about the time my six-year-old packed his cowboy six-shooter in his suitcase unbeknownst to me, and we tried to go through an airport screening system. Good times.).

One last thing. If a lack of money is holding you back, check out the free entrance days scheduled this year at our state and national parks. Our park system is a national treasure, readily available for all of us to enjoy. Go here to see the fee free dates.