The art of vacation: Your why’s and how’s for this summer

The art of vacation: Your why’s and how’s for this summer

Dutch summer is here and it seems that everyone has only one thing on their mind: vacation. Some of us are travelling home to finally see our family and friends. Others are experimenting with a staycation. And the brave few fly or drive abroad so as not to miss out on some much-needed beach time.

Let us talk about the art of vacation - your why and how to enjoy it to the fullest, because you never know what this roller-coaster of a year is going to bring us.

Arguments for why you should go on holiday 

Next to obvious reasons for resting and recharging, you might be surprised to discover that we become a better version of ourselves after we return from a vacation. It is proven that people have a more positive perspective on life and a higher level of motivation to achieve their goals after taking some time off.

You see, the longer we postpone a well-deserved vacation, the more we weaken the neural connections that are responsible for quick recoveries, a higher sense of wellbeing, and the ability to shift from stress to relaxation. In simple terms, we "untrain" our body and mind to relax and force them to stay in high-alert stress mode. You do not want to do that - life is already stressful enough.

So, use these irrefutable arguments in your discussion with your manager on why you need to go on holiday, and plan ahead: train yourself to take a break, to become a better version of yourself.

How long is the ideal duration for your vacation?

Studies undertaken by the University of Tampere in Finland found that our happiness during a vacation seems to peak on day eight (!) of our time off. No wonder the majority of people describe an ideal vacation being anywhere from 10 to 14 days long. 

In our mind, one week off may sound reasonable, but, in reality, we only fully disconnect and start fully enjoying our vacation on day four or five - and on day seven, when it's time to return home, our body and mind are still craving more rest.

Filling your vacation with long-lasting memories

“Collect memories, not things,” is a popular saying. I would rephrase it: “Collect experiences, not things, on your vacation.” So, instead of going shopping, invest your time and money in experiences - anything from snorkelling with dolphins to watching a sunset on a remote beach. The level of happiness from an experience is much more impactful and long-lasting compared to getting stuff.

I recommend stepping away from perfection on your vacation: forget about schedules, do not rush, allow yourself to get lost and wander the streets of the town you have never been to, and discover a lovely family cafe and chat with the locals. Make yourself at home. Experiences like this make us fall in love with places and warm our hearts in cold times.

Finally, make sure that you have a post-coronavirus toolbox with you: a surgical mask, hand sanitiser, and a pen.

Based on my experience of travelling abroad, a surgical mask will be needed on planes, at the airport, when entering shops and cafes, and in some crowded places. When you purchase a mask - think about practicality instead of fashion. Imagine sitting a few hours on the plane or bus, wearing it - it should be breathable, easily recyclable, or washable.

Having a pen with you will be helpful for any declaration forms you may need to sign on each flight.

Make the most of your time away

To sum it up, do not miss a well-deserved vacation - long enough to enjoy! - filled with experiences that will warm your heart when looking back at them.

We would love to hear about your experience of going on holiday this year. Where did you go? What worked best for you? What do you have planned?

Iryna Ivanova


Iryna Ivanova

Iryna Ivanova is a founder and instructor of IBY with focus on the stress release, energy and motivation boost, productivity and performance increase for the corporate world. Iryna comes from...

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