What is a vacation if we cannot feel refreshed, to perhaps see things with a new sparkle or walk with an unexpected spring in our step?
Now there’s new research that can help those who can afford to get away, for at least a few days, from the routine and responsibilities of work.
According to sociologist Sabine Sonnentag of Germany’s University of Konstanz, there are four major factors that contribute to a vacation that offers recovery / rejuvenation:
- mastery experiences
- mental detachment from work
Engage in activities that are pleasant and undemanding.
Relaxation does not have to be totally passive, it just shouldn’t feel like work or require much effort.
Decide how you want to spend your time. Unlike the demands at work, paying attention to your leisure interests and creating an agenda to suit your particular desires can be liberating. At the very least it can be more fun than the duties of your daily work schedule.
Doing nothing or very little can be a radical departure from your regular routine and maybe this type of control — to tame the urge to do something — might be worth considering as well.
Engage in activities you already do well. These mentally absorbing moments may create what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow experiences: a temporary suspension of the passage of time and extreme satisfaction with successfully doing the things you are excellent at.
Mental detachment from work:
Escaping work-related interruptions can be a challenge, but they are essential when taking a much-deserved respite.
Do what you can to notify co-workers that you will not be available during your scheduled vacation period.
Try not to worry about work. It will undo some of the rejuvenation and recovery that you obtained during your time off.
It may seem like a part-time job to accomplish the list of four factors discussed above. While its true that your working life helps define who you are, its also important to remember that your emotional and psychological resilience when faced with the trials and tribulations of the daily grind require proper refueling.
Getting the most out of your vacation may require a bit more effort than taking a “chill pill” and vegetating at the hotel pool. And making a list of must-see cultural / tourist sites may also need re-thinking. But if you’re up for the personal challenge, the rewards of factoring in this new research may be what you’ve been working towards all along.