Vacation Mindset: How Weekends Can Be More Refreshing

Researchers told subjects to treat their weekend like a vacation, then gauged happiness on Monday.

When it comes to time off, America is definitely not a world leader. A review of mandated vacation policy in 21 countries with advanced economies by the Center for Economic and Policy Research reports that the United States is the only country that doesn’t guarantee workers paid time off, and about one quarter of U.S. workers don’t receive paid holidays and vacation days.

Among the lucky ducks who have paid time off, the workaholic zeitgeist is a strong headwind. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans in 2017 on average used 17 of the 23 paid days they were entitled to. That’s actually better than Glassdoor’s 2017 survey of 2,000 workers, in which participants reported using barely more than half their vacation days, on average.

The opportunity cost of forgoing time off is consequential. Academic research has found that taking vacations improves our health, boosts job performance and triggers more creativity.

It also makes us happier. UCLA Anderson’s Colin West, Cassie Mogilner Holmes and Sanford E. DeVoe reviewed data from more than 200,000 Americans who participated in the Gallup Daily poll between 2014 and 2016 and found that, controlling for income and days worked, folks who took more vacation days reported being happier. The good vibes were flowing more, the bad vibes were tamped down and life satisfaction clocked in higher.

Despite the payoff of higher workplace and personal vitality, there is no big effort from the business community (all those wellness programs don’t necessarily make a big push for taking all of one’s vacation days) or public policy to shift us out of our workaholic norms.

West, Holmes and DeVoe, however, have hit on an intriguing hack that is easy and affordable for anyone to give a go: Frame your weekend as a vacation.

Read the full article @ UCLA Anderson Review

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