One of my recent life “hacks” that has totally changed my vacationing and my work life, is to return from vacation on a Saturday. Assuming that is that you are leaving for a vacation sometime during the weekend or week and are expecting to return to work on a Monday.
Previously, I had always returned from a long vacation on a Sunday to try and soak up as much vacation time as I could. It’s hard not to have this mentality since the average American worker receives only 10 paid days of vacation time a year. According to Gusto.com, an astonishing 23% of American workers have no paid vacation days at all. I happen to have 12 annually, and I cherish every bit of it. Nevertheless, I’ve found that waiting until a Sunday to return from vacation is actually detrimental.
<According to a 2013 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “the United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacations.” European countries, for example, mandate that employers offer at least 20 days a year. Some European Union countries have recently increased this requirement to 25 – 30 days.>
Coming back home on a Saturday allows me to unpack from the vacation, organize any photos taken, clean the house, go grocery shopping, and just generally get ready for the next Monday. What’s more, coming back “early” allows me to get a good night’s rest before the upcoming Monday and reduce the return to work blues. And overall, I’ve found that I cherish my time more if I come back a day early and make it a less stressful transition. The last thing you want to do is stress yourself out immediately after a vacation — then what would be the point?!
What’s more, additional vacation days don’t necessarily mean more happiness and relaxation. According to a recent study out of a Finnish University, vacation-related joy peaked after eight days. Adding any amount of time after eight days did not necessarily bring more joy, in fact the research shows a slight decline. I would venture to say this decline is more drastic if you overburden yourself in trying to pile on as much as possible the day before you return to work, school, and reality.
So next time you have a long vacation planned, try my vacation “hack” and come back on a Saturday — you just might feel a difference!!