Time off doesn't make you happier

Time off doesn't make you happier

New research points out the fleeting nature of vacation-induced joy
Mar 03, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Do you have the winter blues? Might some time away from the veterinary clinic be just the ticket to improving your mood? Well, not so fast: New research shows that while a vacation might result in an increased credit card balance and a stack of work waiting at your desk, it may not improve your happiness.

The journal Applied Research in Quality of Life has published an Erasmus University study that surveyed more than 1,500 vacationers. The findings indicate that, except in cases where time away from work was deemed very relaxing, those returning to the office were no happier than peers who had not gone on holiday. Even in those instances, the attitude change was short-lived, being detectable mostly during the two-week period following the break and fading completely after eight weeks.

Jeroen Nawijn, the study's author, says that this is not shocking. Those returning to their jobs usually fall back into the very processes and patterns that caused them unrest in the first place. Nawijn suggests that the planning and anticipation of a vacation can actually boost happiness. He also adds that taking multiple breaks during the year yields more joy than using all of your vacation days at once.

So, schedule permitting, it looks like we should all take a couple trips each year ... and start the planning process very early.