Taking vacation is often good for your business. It can improve your performance and build your employees'confidence. New York Magazine recently reported on the science behind preserving the good vibes from your recent vacation long after the ice in your margarita melts and the sunburn on your shoulders fades away.
To get the very most out of your precious time off, draw out the anticipation on the front end. Excitement boosts morale and gives us something to work toward.
Here's how to prolong that post-vacation glow once you're back.
1. Start off with a bang, but save the best for last.
Research shows the beginning of a vacation sets the tone for how we remember the whole trip, Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia told NY Magazine. It’s a good idea to maximize that feeling of contentment when you first shake the stress of work and begin your vacation by splurging on accommodations, meals or activities early in your trip. Dunn also says there’s some evidence that we tend to place importance on the last moments as well, so it’s a good idea to save a treat for the last day.
2. Focus on the unique moments.
No matter how relaxing or exciting your trip, it might start to lose its luster when you begin comparing notes with friends and family. Combat this fading enthusiasm by focusing on the unique parts of your vacation. While it might be difficult to plan activities no one else will do, maybe you witnessed a silly event with your parents, partner or children. If you bonded with a loved one or saw something you’ve wanted to see for a long time--fulfilling a unique, personal desire--focus on that. It’s unique to your experience and can’t be overshadowed by others.
3. Practice gratitude and reflection--both internal and external.
Research shows our post-vacation attitude bounces back to pre-vacation levels fairly quickly after we get back to work. We can stave off the doldrums by making an effort to be grateful and recall the parts of the vacation that made us especially happy.
Amit Kumar of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business told New York Magazine that buying an experience is like buying a story. “So one way vacations continue to provide hedonic benefits even after they've long since passed is because they live on in the stories we tell.” He says experiences provide more conversational value than products, which tends to make people happier.
During the week or two after you get back from a vacation, write some thank-you notes to your hosts or friends from the trip and make photo albums while the best memories are still fresh in your mind. Keep a journal, write blog posts, and tell your co-workers about your favorite memories or lessons learned. All of this serves to memorialize stories you’ll tell for years to come and maximize the value of your time and money spent on vacation.