This is how long the perfect holiday should be - according to science

2019-02-13 06:30 - Marisa Crous
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Scientifically-speaking, there is something such as a too-long holiday.

Yes. 

We tend to take shorter breaks throughout the year, breaking away for a weekend here and there, especially around Easter when we are able to sneak in a few extra days, making our weekends longer with public holiday days aplenty. 

But what is the ideal length of a holiday? When do you truly start to feel that relaxation washing over you? Is it after a day already, or after a week? Is it on an island or on a city break?

READ: Natural highs 2019: Peaks to tick off your bucket list one short break at a time 

Many people might argue that there is no such thing as an over-extended holiday. But a new study by Finland’s University of Tampere, says otherwise. 

Day 8 is apparently the day when you feel most relaxed. The day when you truly feel that vibe. You are settled in, and have subconsciously adapted to a switched-off existence: free from routine, 9-5 work days and are truly relishing in the indulgences not usually incorporated in your everyday life.

Like drinking a beer at 11am. 

The study warns against taking too long breaks, saying, "Most vacations seem to have strong, but rather short-lived effects on health and well-being (H&W). However, the recovery-potential of relatively long vacations and the underlying processes have been disregarded. Therefore, our study focused on vacations longer than 14 days and on the psychological processes associated with such a long respite from work."

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The study only observed 54 respondents on holiday, however, for most the short-lived effects of health and well-being, or relaxation levels peaked on Day 8. The study also found that "Regarding vacation after-effects, none of the differences between Pre (before vacation) and Post (after vacation) was significant (all p’s > .20). So, within the first week of work resumption, H&W levels were comparable to those before vacation."

Therefore, going away or staycationing for more than eight days won't necessarily make you feel more relaxed. That said, who can travel Europe in just eight days?!

To be honest, a lot of travels are exhausting. Backpacking Asia? Yes! But after a month or two of that you need an actual holiday. 

So, applying these findings to all forms of travel won't make a whole lot of sense. 

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