Vacations are already fantastic. But, as psychology experts learn more about how the human brain works, we’re learning how to amp up the fun factor–and why you should. Here are six tips for making the most of your vacation days and returning without requiring a break from your vacation.
1. The best part may be the planning
Anticipation accounts for a significant portion of human enjoyment. One research of vacationers discovered (unsurprisingly) that they were happier than non-vacationers, although virtually all of the happiness increase occurred prior to the vacation itself.
2. Choose quantity over once in a life time
A once-in-a-lifetime trip, such as a month in New Zealand, would be incredible. However, because such holidays are “once in a lifetime,” their total contribution to pleasure is limited.
According to research, we return to prior levels of enjoyment pretty rapidly (we spend our lives on the “hedonic treadmill”), and so lesser pleasures enjoyed frequently contribute more to total well-being than big but less frequent ones.
Another study discovered that the health and wellness advantages of a trip peaked around the eighth day. So, for getaways, search for already-shortened workweeks so you may arrange many eight-day vacations (weekend + workweek plus weekend) throughout a year for the price of three to four vacation days.
3. Experience new things
Former Olympic speed skater John Coyle observes in his TedX lecture on the concept of time that when we were 8 years old, summer appeared to linger forever.
Not so much anymore. So, how can you slow downtime? For an 8-year-old, everything is new, and time moves slowly while the brain absorbs all of these new experiences, adults adhere to routines.
4.Pack your days with enjoyable activities
Researchers asked participants to describe their emotions throughout the day and discovered that they were happiest when they were resting, socializing, exercising, undertaking spiritual activities, and eating (oh, and when they were involved in “intimate relations” as well).
So, in between activities, make time for delicious meals, relaxing reading, quiet reflection, and connecting with the people you’re traveling with–especially those with whom you’re emotionally connected.
5. Source the unpleasant stuff
Two years ago, the satirical daily The Onion published a widely circulated piece titled “Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties in Closer Proximity to Ocean.” It’s humorous because it’s true, and it’s regrettably a formula for Mom (and Dad) to have conflicting feelings about trips.
If you have children, housekeeping and childcare are unavoidable, but be sure to schedule some adult-oriented relaxation as well. Bring Grandma along for built-in babysitting, or budget for a hotel babysitter for one or two nights.
If you’re traveling with a group and sharing a house, you might pool your resources to hire someone to cook and clean for a few nights.
Even if it’s simply a nuclear family vacation, plan with your spouse to hand off child responsibilities here and there so each partner may read alone on the beach for an hour or so in between managing sandcastle squabbles.
6. Work management
Some individuals feel that doing nothing while on vacation brings bliss. I am not one of those individuals. The crucial factor is how much power you have over the issue. If you take calls because your boss forces you to, it will be a source of anger.
However, if you work for yourself or have other freedom in your schedule and want to work for half an hour before the rest of your family gets up, there is nothing wrong with it.
Just get it done and then avoid your email till the next morning. Vacations are also helpful for thinking about big-picture professional issues. I consider what tasks I could be interested in tackling in the future and return home with ideas to put into action.