While many of us may dispute the notion, Americans are workaholics. We’ll check our work email accounts upon waking up at home and not when we get in at the office. We’ll take work-related phone calls afterhours and miss important family functions should duty call. We’ll come in early, stay late and work holidays to get the to-do list done on time and generally become fixated over personal work, our employer and career paths. It should come as no surprise then that many of us will experience some sort of withdraw from work when on vacation – and don’t even get us started about how bad Americans are with scheduling vacation days. Simply put, says travel expert Andy Berke, work gives many of us a sense of purpose and day after day of lounging around and going out to dinner can get old. If you want to avoid this drawback while still scheduling time off for a much-needed vacation, Finland’s University of Tampere has cracked the code.
According to a September 2017 Huffington Post article, eight days is long enough for most of us to “achieve the maximum amount of relaxation and happiness without growing bored or homesick.” The report states that you’ll feel great on the first day of vacation and such feelings of reduced work-related stress will carry through on to day eight. However, the study found that positive feelings associated with being away from work “fall rapidly” after your 11th day off. Ways to improve the impact of a vacation is to pre-plan as a way to get excited about your excursion, according to the article, as well as setting time aside upon your return to talk about the trip with friends and family – and even coworkers. In a similar vein, the study found that the typical weekend isn’t enough time to truly disconnect from work. While away on vacation, the study suggests disconnecting from work email and phones and setting up messages to let those who are trying to contact you that you’ll be out of the office and not checking on work-related matters.
As travel guide Andy Berke previously mentioned, we’re doing more work in a day than ever before and even a two-day weekend break isn’t enough. The silver lining to taking a vacation of any duration, according to the article, is avoiding serious health concerns. In fact, premature death and other illnesses could be the unfavorable outcome of failing to take time away from work. Per the study, a short vacation every year is better for body and soul than a longer trip “every few years.”