It may seem like Holiday is a dirty word now with borders closing, snap lockdowns and restrictions in place but they are essential for wellbeing. COVID has seen a rise in stress and an increase in people accessing mental health services for their wellbeing. One of the contributors to this stress is loss of holidays and subsequent burnout. There has been an enormous amount of research into the health and wellbeing effect of holidays and what the ideal length of a holiday would be. The quality of research varies but the outcomes stay the same. We need them!

Finland is a country known for quality of life so it’s no surprise that they have researched holiday and health. A forty year long study from Finland published in 2018 showed that if you didn’t take a holiday your risk of dying is increased regardless of healthy lifestyle choices. It was the Dutch that studied how long the vacation should be and discovered that 8 days is the magic number, after that your stress levels start to increase again. A more recent study from Germany found that if you work in stressful management positions a 4-day break is enough to reduce stress. It didn’t matter if that was at home or in a hotel. The research into holidays started as far back as 1910 and is ongoing. The take home message is that they are important for health, wellbeing and stress management.

Unfortunately, due to COVID holidays are no longer guaranteed. If you book something you may be getting a refund instead of packing your bags as decisions are made quickly. If you are feeling the pressure of work and life and holding out for that trip to Bali or Europe maybe you should reconsider and take whatever break you can.