“The direct positive effect of vacationing does not last very long,” says Jeroen Nawijn, an author of a study on vacationing and happiness. “People have to catch up. Usually there is a big pile of work for them when they get back from the holiday.”
Nawijn’s research, published in February in the Applied Research in Quality of Life journal, showed that vacations affect our happiness levels, but perhaps not in the ways we usually think of them.
Nawijn and his team followed 1,530 Dutch adults (974 of whom took a vacation during the 32-week study period), measuring their happiness levels before, during and after their vacations. The results: People got the biggest boost from the time before their vacation — an eight-week positive mood increase — which quickly dissipated after the vacation ended.