After months of dealing with clients, writing reports, and suffering from persistent migraines after staring at your screen for hours, you’re thinking about taking a break. It makes sense since we all need a mental reset from exhausting work tasks. Before you request time off, take a moment to decide how many days you want to be away. There is such a thing as being vacationed out, and there’s research to support this idea.
8 Days Is the Sweet Spot for a Vacation
A 2012 Journal of Happiness Studies study recorded participants’ health and well-being (“H&W”) during their vacations, most lasting 14 days. The study reported that “H&W levels rapidly improved during vacation and appeared to peak on the 8th day of vacation.” Several factors were measured, including:
- Pleasure from activities
- Detachment from work
- Control over how to spend vacation time
- Savoring the vacation
If you’re answering work calls or spending too much time stressing about activities, you won’t be able to achieve the benefits of your time off. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and enjoy what your destination offers.
The Main Purpose of Clocking Out
Why go on holiday? We all dream of escaping the stress of the daily grind, relaxing in a tropical paradise, or admiring a historical sight. Studies suggest stress leaves men and women susceptible to heart issues and contributes to lack of sleep, which is a potential risk factor for dementia. A trip will also decrease mental burnout and revive your creative flow, improving your physical and mental well-being.
What’s Wrong With a Longer Vacation?
Sure, you could extend your trip by a few days or weeks. There’s so much of the world to see and you want to catch as much as possible. After a while, however, you might become bored and sleep less during extended vacation periods. When you return to work, your exhaustion is at the same level as before you left. Not to mention, each day you’re out of town adds to expenses.
Vacations and the Peak-End Rule
Recall your most recent outing. What was the first moment that came to mind? When traveling, peak-ends can make a difference between memorable and unfortunate vacations. The peak-end rule is “a cognitive bias that impacts how people remember past events.” In other words, the most intense experiences, positive or negative, and the end of the experience are what people tend to remember most.
Navigating the Post-Vacation Period
Once you head home, you’ll likely experience a bit of sadness, relief, anger, or inspiration. The purpose of taking time off is to reset from the stress of your job. It’s great to break from a routine you’re used to and take some much-needed R&R. If you can’t afford to leave town, a staycation will offer the same benefits, helping you feel refreshed once you return to the office. So, if you’re considering traveling soon, let the science convince you to start booking.