The Temporal Ecstasy of Vacations

You dream, you save, you plan, you mark your calendar and you wait…until you finally burst free of the shackles of life as a working adult and take off on vacation.  If only it could last.

The American Psychological Association’s 2018 Work and Well-Being Survey finds that one-in-four adults say the positive effects of vacation time disappear immediately after getting back to work, and Dr. David Ballard, Director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, says there are demonstrable benefits to time off.  “Their stress level is lower, their mood is better, they have more energy, they feel more motivated, and they say they’re more productive and their work quality is better.”  68% say they come back in a better mood; 66% report more energy; 57% feel more motivated; and 57% say they feel less stressed out.

The joy is ephemeral for many and transitory.  “The downside we found is that for nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers those positive effects actually dissipated within a few days of coming back to work,” Dr. Ballard tells News Radio 740 KTRH.  Not everyone has a good time on vacation: 21% report feeling tense or stressed out while they were on vacation and 28% say they wind up working more than planned.

42% dread having to even go back to work.

The survey was conducted online by the Harris Poll in late February 2018 among 1,512 working adults.

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