WELLNESS
06/30/2017 05:49 pm ET

6 Reasons This Weekend Is The Best One Of The Year

According to science, anyway.

Bring it on, Fourth of July.

Not only does the long holiday weekend give you a chance to kick back and relax, it’s also likely going to be packed with activities that improve your wellbeing. So not only are you having fun, you’re boosting your health in the process.

Below are just some elements of the Fourth that make you happier and healthier, according to science. Can you say best weekend ever?

1. The break from work will boost your productivity.

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There’s nothing quite like a little respite from the office ― and research shows your health is a lot better for it. Not only do long weekends make you happier, research shows they also help you accomplish more once you’re back at your desk. 

If you’re looking for some productive ways to take advantage of the extra time off, check out these science-backed tips.

2. Spending time in the sun can improve your mood...

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Soak up a little vitamin D ― it’s good for your soul. Studies suggest the sunlight can boost happiness. It can also help lower your blood pressure. Just don’t get too carried away: Too much sun exposure can damage your skin in the long run and puts you at the risk for burns, heat stroke and other scary effects. A little goes a long way, in this case. Be sure to grab that sunscreen, too!

3. ...and so can being by the ocean.

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If you’re lucky enough to hang on the water this weekend, you’ll reap some health benefits from those waves. Experts say and research suggests a little Vitamin Sea can put the brain in a meditative state and helps give the mind a break from overstimulation.

4. Seeing loved ones has psychological benefits.

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There’s no better time to hang with the people you care about most than a nice, long summer weekend. And that IRL face time pays off: Research shows hanging with loved ones can help beat stress. Pack a bag and head to see your family or just spend a little extra time with your friends in the area. You’ll end the weekend feeling a lot more relaxed.

5. Making food for that picnic could give you a boost.

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Baking cookies or a pie for that family party could bring you an unexpected sense of happiness. Psychologists say there are benefits to baking for other people, from mindfulness to a sense of altruism (which has its own added wellbeing perks). Here are some yummy recipes, if you’re looking for suggestions.

6. Finally, watching fireworks could make you happier and more inventive.

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Have you ever been completely enamored by a fireworks display? If so, you could get some health perks. Research shows awe-inspiring moments can make you happier and more creative. Experts even say it may help you appreciate life more.

Not bad for an annual holiday tradition, huh? Happy Independence Day, indeed.

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