The Good Life, Zoomer Report

Ideal Vacation Length

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With the summer winding down, it’s an interesting question: what is the ideal length of time for a vacation. A team of Dutch researchers compared short two to three day breaks with 8 to 10 day holidays and long vacations that lasted three weeks. They measured health and well-being before, during and after the vacation. They found that it started going up on the second day of the holiday and peaked at eight days. After that, it tended to come down a bit, although not nearly to the pre-vacation level.

The researchers assume that has something to do with starting to anticipate the end of this period away from work. Other studies found that we sleep poorly on Sunday night, as we prepare mentally for the work week.

The stress of preparing for a vacation reduces well-being in the two weeks before the time away, and the impact is greater on women. For both genders, the vacation effect fades quickly on the return to the office, essentially it’s gone after a week. However, most of us are more creative after returning from a break. Bottom line, the researchers did not find that longer holidays had a deeper effect on health and well-being. They recommend taking more frequent short holidays throughout the year.


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