Why You Absolutely Can’t Work This Labor Day Weekend

A study reveals that vacation is essential to good health—thanks, science!

Image via Pexels

According to a study published in Springer Nature's journal Translational Psychiatry on Wednesday, vacations and meditation are quantifiably good for you. That’s good news for those who might be feeling guilty about leaving their laptops and work-related worries behind this Labor Day weekend.

Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, UC San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School recruited 94 women between the ages of 30 and 60 who were reportedly in good health for the study. Scientists sent the women—some regular meditators and some not—on two different retreats to determine how meditating impacted “gene expression patterns” versus going on a straightforward vacation. Researchers analyzed 20,000 genes before and after the trips to determine the difference between what scientists dub the “meditation effect” and the “vacation effect.”

As it turns out, both have significant, positive impacts on your health and well-being. In a press release, Mount Sinai Hospital stated that the study’s scientists discovered “a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short-term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress.” The meditation retreat showed signs of antiviral activity in the participants as well, indicating mindful relaxation can have health benefits beyond the psychological.

UCSF Professor of Psychiatry and lead author of the study, Elissa S. Epel, PhD, said of her team’s findings:

“It's intuitive that taking a vacation reduces biological processes related to stress, but it was still impressive to see the large changes in gene expression from being away from the busy pace of life, in a relaxing environment, in such a short period of time.”

While the study was small and Epel admits they need to replicate their findings to bolster legitimacy, it does give some scientific credence to that refreshed, youthful feeling we get upon returning from a restful vacation. According to the study, participants showed health and immune system improvements up to one month after the retreat’s conclusion. In other words, let loose this weekend—if you care about your health, that is.


Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less