Mood Boost from Vacations Short-Lived

February 22, 2010 ( – A new study shows workers are happiest when planning vacations and the happiness has faded by the time they return to the office.

The researchers surveyed 1,530 Dutch adults, 974 of whom took a vacation during the 40-plus week study period, and found that those in the planning phase of a vacation had higher happiness scores than those not going away, LiveSciene reports. Following the trip, vacationers and non-vacationers showed no difference in their happiness levels, unless the time off was considered very relaxing.

Even when vacations were reported as relaxing, there was a slight happiness boost for vacationers noticeable during the first two weeks back, but after eight weeks, that slight increase had faded completely, according to the news report.

The research team said it isn’t surprised by the short shelf-life for this vacation boost, since most vacationers go right back to the daily grind pretty quickly upon return, and during vacations many people stay connected to the office so the relaxation potential is not fully realized.

The research is published in the February 10 online issue of the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.