Mental Wellness: Vacation!

I have officially booked my summer vacation, and seeing as this is my first year not in school since I was…3…this is my first big kid vacation. Complete with crashing on my best friends couch, like all big kid vacations should (I just cringe thinking of that word) be!

A 2010 studies actually suggests that going on vacation is not as good for your mental health as just planning for a vacation suggesting that anticipation may contribute to a persons happiness. So why isn’t being on vacation as relaxing (or more relaxing) than just planning for vacation? Well, the stress from traveling has an impact on one’s happiness as well as when you think about work. The stress of coming back to work and playing catch up after being on vacation is almost enough to make people not want to go on vacation. Fritz & Sonnentag (2006) explored this a little further and found

Negative thinking about work while on vacation, or having to deal with a lot of vacation-related hassles, also results in less happiness after coming back from vacation…In additiona, the detrimental effects of workload immediately after vacation on performance-related outcomes and … well-being, indicate that the pile of work that the employee expects…consumes a lot of the resources gained during vacation.

So how can YOU enjoy your summer vacation? Grohol offers some helpful tips!

  • Take time planning the vacation
  • Stop. Thinking. About. Work. While. On. Vacation. Rinse and repeat for desired results.
  • Plan the details! Be thorough in your planning to lessen the hassles…ahem, getting to the airport on time might be number one or planning to hit major cities when it isn’t heavy traffic. (I one time hit St. Louis coming back to Iowa from Kentucky during going home traffic and was at a standstill for an hour!)
  • When you are on vacation…BE on vacation! Enjoy the experience of being on vacation and soak it up!
  • Capture some vacation memories. So when you are back in the office or back to your normal every day life, you can look back and remember that amazing experience you had on vacation.

What do YOU do to make sure that when you are on vacation, you are ON vacation?

Grohol, J. (2010). Does happiness follow on vacation? Psych Central. Retrieved on June 11, 2013 from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/02/22/does-happiness-follow-on-vacation/

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