If the choice of choosing between a one or two week vacation, maybe a small percent would opt for the shorter break. However, new research suggests that a break of three or four days can be just as freshning as a longer vacation.
Speaking to Business Insider, Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, PhD, says that shorter vacations are just as good in hindsight as longer ones. According to him, the amount of happiness you get from your time off actually has a certain limit.
Daniel Kahneman conducted a research in which he found that people's pyschology can be divided into two: 'experiencing self' - living in the moment, and 'remembering self' - extending an experience's happiness potention by remembering, recounting, and or reliving past events. When we are sharing photos and stories of our experience over and over again, we are giving support to that 'rememebring self.
Thus, it is possible to maximise the memories made regardless of how short a vacation is. Moreover as we focus on what is new, spending a two weeks in the same place doing the same thing might not actually result in a more enjoyable experience, but it is different if you are doing a new thing everyday.
A Los Angeles-based psychologist and CEO of Psychological Healing Centre, Judy Rosenberg believes that shorter vacations do have their benefits. “When we are learning new material, we are better off studying in short spurts rather than cramming in long hours,” says Rosenberg. The same applies to clearing our minds and emotions, "it is better to clear our mind with short frequent vacations rather than long extended ones. When we take many short vacation breaks, it gives us the opportunity to reboot our mental, physical, and emotional system and clear space for the next round of work."
She also stated that shorter vacations creates less hassle, and people use quick getaway trips as short vacations, which means that time spent in travelling is less, packing is lighter, and it can be more spontaneous.
John Mayer (not the singer!), PhD, clinical psychologist, author, and consultant at Doctor on Demand, says that a lot of people require several days to get into 'vacation mode' and be fully invested in their psychology of 'experience self' or 'remembering self.' “Additionally, many people—and often they are the same people—have an emotional experience toward the end of the vacation time wherein they become anxious/sad/melancholy during the later part of the vacation because they are returning to their work and home environment soon and the vacation is over,” says Mayer. “Thus, these emotional reactions are also critically important in determining your length of vacation.”
Mayer explained that going on vacations are a coping mechanism helping us adapt to the stress we face in our lives every day. "Planning vacations, preparing for vacation in ways such as buying vacation clothes and vacation needs, and talking about vacations are outstanding ways for all of us to relieve the stress of our working and home world."
It has been proven by psychologists themselves that shorter vacations are not bad at all. So the next time you think that you will wait for a longer work-holiday, or to save more money so you can go off for two weeks or so, think again. Just pack your bags, pick a holiday spot and getaway even if it is for just three days!