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Getting away from it all helps well-being

Time away from work is indeed good for health, as long as vacationers get enough stress-free "me" time, Austrian researchers suggest.

In a study of 53 employees of an aluminum hardware manufacturer, physiologist Gerhard Strauss-Blasche and a team of researchers at the University of Vienna found that 2 weeks of vacation boosted the workers' physical health for as much as 5 weeks afterward. The time off improved their moods and quality of sleep, too, but only for a short time.

According to the investigators, few studies have looked at the "vacation effect" on people's overall physical and emotional well-being. So they had the employees complete questionnaires on life satisfaction, physical complaints, stress and recuperation 10 days before and 3 days after vacation. Some completed a third questionnaire after 5 weeks.

Most vacationers (61%) enjoyed their time off, but one-third said they felt they did not have enough time to themselves. Seventeen percent said their vacation was not "harmonious." The researchers also found that vacationers who reported the least "recuperation" from their daily stresses did not report better well-being after their time off.

People who did recover somewhat from the daily grind were more likely to have made sure they had the "necessary amount of recreation," according to the authors. The more time workers were stress-free at home, or away from home, the more recuperative their vacationers were. One way to recuperate, Strauss-Blasche and colleagues note, "is to take time for one's self and for one's needs."

Reference Source 89

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