Many of us are guilty of being workaholics.
For years, research has demonstrated the benefits of downtime and rest on overall health and mental capacity. Yet employees have not been taking sufficient time off to recover, let alone to extend their capacities in the ways that their working environment requires. Irrespective of industry or seniority, many employees resist taking time off, no matter how generous their company’s leave policies are.
But too much work without rest can result in burnout.
Burnout is not simply stress, but rather a syndrome that can result from chronic and unsuccessfully managed stress. This stress negatively impacts worker health and the capacity for both work output and ability to learn and develop at the necessary pace. Burnout can have measurable effects on the workforce, which include exhaustion, mental distance from or negative feelings toward one’s work, and reduced work productivity.
According to a study from Deloitte, it has been reported that 75% of workers are experiencing burnout, and the risk for depression has risen 102% for workers of all ages and 305% for workers aged 20–39. At the same time, however, they have been putting off taking time off, citing reasons such as the inability to travel, difficulty justifying time off in a work-from-home environment, and especially, fear of taking time off in an unstable job market.
According to a U.K. survey, in order to avoid burnout from work or other daily stressors, you need a vacation — or at least a day off — every 62 days, otherwise you increase your chances of growing anxious, aggressive, or physically ill.
If these stats aren’t enough to convince you to take quick quarterly getaway, here are three reasons why a trip to one of our country’s most popular holiday destinations, the Kruger National Park, is the break you need:
A change of pace
A day in the bush begins early and is full of small moments to savour, such as gently waking up to an orchestra of birdsong instead of your alarm, or watching elephants take a long, cool drink at a watering hole. A safari holiday in the Kruger is the perfect place to forget your 9 to 5 schedule and reset your clock to Africa’s natural rhythm. Whether it’s savouring a cup of coffee while watching a sunrise over the African bush on an early game drive or settling down after an adventurous day with a sundowner drink at the iconic infinity pool at Kruger Gate Hotel , (which overlooks the Park and allows you an up-close view of the wildlife), there is no better place to unwind.
Our wealth and diversity of wildlife will give you butterflies
Despite what many believe, South Africa is rich. Rich in history, rich in culture, rich in biodiversity and rich in life. The Kruger National Park is a true reflection of this richness. It is the largest national park in Africa and the oldest in South Africa - approximately the size of Israel and a little smaller than Belgium according to Moa Afrika Tours. With an abundance of animal and plant life, the Kruger National Park boasts over 2 000 plant species with 336 tree species, 500 bird species, six of which are known as the Big 6 and are native to the area. And, of course, it is also home to the beloved Big 5. The Park not only has a variety of living species but contains evidence of prehistoric life, too, dating back over 500 000 years ago. Beyond the impressive biodiversity, the Kruger National Park possesses 254 known cultural heritage sites, which includes 130 rock art sites.
Whilst it can be easy to get caught up in the challenges of the day-to-day, taking a step back to admire the richness of places such as the Kruger National allows us to appreciate how blessed we are as South Africans. The best part is that you don’t have to go too far to experience the best that the Kruger has to offer. Just 100m away from an entrance into the park, Kruger Gate Hotel offers uninterrupted views into the Kruger National Park and provides a peaceful respite after your safari travels.
“When feeling despondent, we encourage our guests to simply sit at our pool deck, look up at the clear African sky, welcome the sounds of nature and take a deep breath. Then we ask that they place their gaze towards the vast expanse of nature that lies ahead of the infinity pool and admire South Africa’s abundance,” shares Sarah Watson, Guest Relations Manager at Kruger Gate Hotel.
A long bush break could be just what the doctor ordered
Time in nature has been proven to be good for your mental and physical well-being. In fact, research shows that just 20 minutes of time in nature can significantly reduce cortisol levels - the stress hormone. Reduced cortisol levels, in turn, have a positive effect on your overall well-being. So, when you are trying to decide on a holiday destination for your quarterly getaway, take a look at where you can escape that will give you abundant exposure to nature, wildlife and the bush.
“If you are looking for an extended holiday that will provide you and your family with a great escape from the pressures of everyday life, areas such as the Kruger National Park are certainly something to consider,” notes Anton Gillis, CEO of Kruger Gate Hotel. “Here, not only do families receive prolonged exposure to stress-reducing natural environments, but it can be a learning experience for the children too as they get to engage with the wildlife of the Kruger National Park.” Safari holidays are both relaxing and instructive with days punctuated by early morning and dusk game drives, each of which offers a completely different perspective of the bush.
Enjoying morning coffee or sipping sundowners overlooking a dam, a waterhole, or the African savannah transports visitors to somewhere completely outside their everyday lives. In between, days can be as lazy or active as guests choose, and accommodation providers are adapting in order to offer guests a home away from home.
In a time when we’re more plugged in than ever before, a long escape to the bush could be just what your family needs to wind down from a busy year and recharge for the year ahead.