This Is the Day Your Happiness Peaks on a Vacation—so Plan Accordingly

Photo: Stocksy/Kate Daigneault
Ever feel like you need a vacation after you get back from your vacation? You're not alone, because travel can be straight-up exhausting—especially if you're on a wanderlust-heavy adventure trip. Plus, if your trip is too short, there's no way you'll be fully able to achieve the restorative benefits of taking a break from your daily grind. Luckily, research says there's a perfect number of vacay days that'll help you reach your optimum level of happiness.

According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, vacays that last a little longer than week are the way to go when it comes to your health and well-being. While quick trips are basically a tease and long trips can feel daunting to plan and tough to pull off (perhaps thats the reason so many Americans blatantly suck at using up their paid time off?), a full eight days was found to provide travelers the chance to actually enjoy settling into vacation mode, both mentally and physically. During their first few days away, the vacationers's happiness levels rose and then peaked on the eighth. And, just like all those TV shows that end while they're still super-popular, this is a clear high-vibe sign it's time to head back to reality.

"Asking why we should keep going on vacations is comparable to asking why we should go to sleep considering the fact that we get tired again."

According to the study authors, an eight-day timespan can provide everything that's necessary in order to properly "wind down after a stressful work period and acclimatize to vacation." They go on to explain that this very vacation acclimatization is totally a self-care need that humans should make routine for the sake of their mental health and staving off burnout. "Asking why we should keep going on vacations is comparable to asking why we should go to sleep considering the fact that we get tired again," they write. "A period of effort investment at work should necessarily be alternated with periods of recovery in order to remain healthy in the long run."

Because of that, the study authors recommend never skipping vacations or taking just one long vacation every few years. That's not enough, folks. Instead, schedule several shorter vacations per year to make sure you keep your health and happiness in check. And with that, BRB: gotta go plan an exciting, restorative getaway right now.

Ready for a break? You can vacation like a mermaid in this under-the-sea villa. Or, check out some top-rated vacation rentals that are less than $100 a night.

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