When I left work on Friday, I went on vacation. Never fear, I’ll be back Monday.
According to a study by UCLA business professor, Cassie Mogilner Holmes, treating the weekend like a vacation – rather than considering it just two days away from work – can have a positive effect on the happiness in the following week.
The study was somewhat limited, in my humble opinion.
Over the span of two weekends, Holmes asked 900 study participants to either carry on a normal weekend routine or to “treat the weekend like a vacation.” The study controlled the spending of money so happiness could not be gained from expensive dinner or an actual vacation. There was no further instruction or directions given to the weekend vacationers. Many of them took common approaches such as staying in bed longer, indulging in more food, and staying away from housework or job work.
People who treat their weekend like it is a vacation, in any kind of personal interpretation, indicated their spirits were much higher come Monday morning.
Holmes’ essay stated, “When participants were back at work on Monday, we followed up with a survey measuring their current happiness (that is, their positive emotion, negative emotion and satisfaction). The results showed that those who had treated their weekend like a vacation were significantly happier than those who had treated it like a regular weekend.”
I struggle over taking real vacations. You know which ones those are: you pack bags and leave town for several days. When you return, you have a mess of laundry to do and wonder if going out to dinner would be a better option than cooking – an effort to keep the vacation feel going just a little bit longer, I’m sure. When back at work, the motivation just isn’t there. You need a vacation to overcome your vacation. It always takes days to get back in the rhythm of work.
The above paragraph, with its slight negativity might be bad timing with spring break for Warren County Schools just around the corner and so many teachers and parents taking week-long vacations. Weeklong vacations are wonderful, but they do have disadvantages.
I prefer long weekends and stay-at-home vacations. Taking a Monday off and getting three days is awesome. It gives you a little more time away from work but you don’t have any of the disadvantages associated with taking a week-long vacation. Plus, I didn’t have the stress of traveling and my savings account is intact. I like how that sounds.
Perception can be reality. What people perceive is usually what they believe, and this is based on what they hear, see and think. If you perceive something in a negative way beforehand, the stage has been set.
I’m a very positive person. Silver linings exist. So, let’s see what happens. I’m going to start thinking about my weekends as a vacation and not just two days off work.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.