In most people’s books a holiday can never last too long.
But it turns out there is a specific length of time that makes the perfect holiday.
Researchers believe there is a sweet spot for combining the right amount of your precious annual leave and enough time to de-stress.
Boffins at Finland’s University of Tampere found that, ideally, any vacation should be between 7 to 11 days long – and it’s all because of work-related stress.
The logic behind this is that just over a week is enough time to ‘switch off’ from work but any longer than 11 days and people start to worry about their inbox and tasks piling up back in the office.
And while weekend city breaks can be fun, the research found that they can also be stressful.
They explained: “Employees are often unable to recover sufficiently during short respites from work due to increasingly permeable boundaries between work and home domains, long working hours, working overtime and prolonged physiological activation as a result of preoccupation with work.”
Researchers looked at people’s work-related stress levels over the course of their holiday.
They found relaxation levels among people typically peaked around the eighth day of a break.
The study explains: “Vacations represent the longest period of temporary absence from work and may, therefore, constitute a more powerful respite opportunity than shorter rest intervals.”
“Our results showed that health and wellness rapidly increase after the start of the holiday and seemed to peak on the eighth vacation day.”
Sadly, when holidaymakers return to work they can expect stress to creep back at a rapid rate.
Apparently, participants “rapidly returned to baseline level within the first week of work resumption”.
Which is basically a fancy, academic way of explaining those ‘back to work blues’ we’re all familliar with!