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  • Tamar Balkin

Can you really refresh over a (long) weekend?

“Until Monday morning strikes again,

We are the kings of the weekend" 

Kings of the Weekend by Blink-182  (Click here for the song) 


“ahh the long weekend was delightful..

I wonder how long this feeling of calm will last” 

Coaching client. 


Recent research has confirmed the following benefits of taking a break:

  • Improvement in general health and well-being.

  • Reduction in chronic reactions to job stress.

  • Physical, mental and psychological recovery.

  • Increased physical activity.

  • Enhanced sleep quality.

  • Physically and mentally disengage from work

  • Energy replenishment.

  • Improvement in mood.

  • Reduction in anger and distress.

  • Growth in job performance.

  • Improvement in job satisfaction.

  • Enhanced organisational citizenship behaviour.

Researchers have found that the following maximises the benefits of a vacation: 

Social Contact:

Spending as much time as possible in good company. Engaging with friends and family in ways that you can't during the daily grind of work. Take advantage of the opportunity to nurture and strengthen positive relationships and deeply connect with others. Regular readers would know the influential role that social relationships have on physical and psychological health. 

Choosing how you spend your time: 

Whilst life has constraints and commitments, there are moments of choice and flexibility in leisure and vacation time.  To maximise the benefits of a break ensure that you make time to do things that you enjoy. Create space for laughter, joy and awe; for pure relaxation and mental disengagement. Spend time outdoors, be inspired by the abundance of nature and free time to increase your physical activity.



“Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays, Holidays can be a good way to relieve stress.”

Professor Timo Strandberg.


What about phones and technology?

Researchers have found that some people perceive unplugging as more stressful than staying connected. However, regular readers would know that establishing and upholding boundaries between life and work are essential to psychological well-being. If you feel the need to have some connection to work, in your time off be mindful of both your motivation and boundaries.  




“This supports the message that taking any sort of break from usual work-life routine may be beneficial for health outcomes.”

Ty Ferguson 



Can you retain the holiday glow?

Researchers have found that the positive impact of a holiday can be maintained by the following:

  • Having a fulfilling job

  • Savouring your experiences

  • Embracing leisure time and leisure pursuits

  • Allowing for breaks and relaxation in non-holiday times, like the weekend, evenings and lunch breaks.



Final Thoughts.

Studies indicate that distributing holidays evenly across the year is beneficial for heart health. These breaks need not be elaborate or costly trips; even small, occasional breaks have been shown to reduce work-related stress and improve cardiovascular health. Thus rather than evaluating each holiday on its own, taking time off to recharge and enjoy yourself should be considered a healthy habit, offering short-term benefits while also contributing to your long-term well-being.



SHL. (n.d.). The Psychology of Holiday. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Jun. 2024].‌

Räikkönen, K., Salomaa, V., Strandberg, A., Kautiainen, H., Kivimäki, M., Pitkälä, K. and Huttunen, J. (2018). Increased Mortality Despite Successful Multifactorial Cardiovascular Risk Reduction in Healthy Men: 40-Year Follow-Up of the Helsinki Businessmen Study Intervention Trial. The journal of Nutrition, health & aging, 22(8), pp.885–891.

Brosch, E., Binnewies, C., Gröning, C. and Forthmann, B. (2023). The role of general work engagement and well‐being for Holiday effects and for Holiday fade‐out. Applied Psychology. doi:‌

Hruska, B., Pressman, S.D., Bendinskas, K. and Gump, B.B. (2019). Vacation frequency is associated with metabolic syndrome and symptoms. Psychology & Health, 35(1), pp.1–15. doi:

Kühnel, J. and Sonnentag, S. (2010). How long do you benefit from vacation? A closer look at the fade-out of vacation effects. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 32(1), pp.125–143. doi:



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