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Closed for holidays! The psychological need to rest

Closed for holidays! The psychological need to rest

May 9, 2021

The current world is very competitive . Both in work and personal life, we must be productive, efficient, correct, have high performance, meet deadlines, deal with difficult situations, make decisions, demonstrate proactivity, renew, update continuously ...

All this induces a state of stress that, although it initially drives us and motivates us to remain attentive and give the best of ourselves, to maintain ourselves continuously leads to a decrease in motivation, performance and enjoyment of the work activity that even induce some disorder such as burnout, anxiety disorders or depressive symptoms.

In order to avoid it, apart from other considerations, advice and the application of relaxation techniques such as breathing is necessary to have rest periods in which to relax both physically and psychologically and disconnect from everyday problems. That is, a vacation is necessary .


The need for vacations

In this period of rest is very useful to perform recovery activities such as relaxation in order that the individual can abstract and take a break from the stressors in their daily lives.

Understood as a reward for the effort made, the holidays are a reinforcing element of self-esteem and self-concept, in addition to preventing the onset of stress and other disorders. It is a period in which we can do activities that we find pleasurable and for which there is usually no opportunity, temporarily leaving behind the responsibilities associated with the position, role or personal and social status.


Beneficial effects of rest

The fact of enjoying a vacation correctly means a lot of benefits. In the first place, in relation to the aforementioned stress, the holiday period helps to relax, repairing the organism for the damage caused by the increase in cortisol and anxiety .

Likewise, a good rest produces a remarkable increase of creativity, being able to give rise to the formation of new strategies and ideas that in a stressful environment would not arise. This is because during periods of rest the brain is not inactive, but only stops focusing on certain stimulation, activating many other areas of the psyche that are often left aside.

In this sense, the mental unblocking that produces rest provokes an improvement of the capacity of judgment and decision , enabling the full analysis of the available information and the subsequent decision making.


In addition, rest produces an increase in productivity and concentration, by decreasing the intellectual block and the mental and physical slowing of a continuous stress situation. The latency of reaction to stimuli decreases, increasing performance and efficiency during both the recreational period and the return to work.

Finally, rest causes the release of endorphins and the activation of neural reward circuits, stimulating the presence of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. All this produces a reduction of anxiety and negative thought patterns. In conclusion, vacations are a way that causes happiness in those who are able to enjoy the holiday rest period.

Things to avoid that diminish the repairing effect of the holidays

It is necessary to bear in mind that the simple fact of having vacations is not in itself repairing , but the rest comes from the change of activities and ways of thinking compared to the usual situation. In this way, not everything is worth, if not that it should take into account some elements that hinder the true enjoyment of the holiday period.

In this sense, a common problem in the presence of holidays, especially if it is a short duration, is excessive programming. Frequently there is a tendency to make extensive lists of things to do or visit. It is worth taking into account that more quantity does not mean more quality, since saturating the available time can produce even more stress.

Bedtime is also a frequent problem. It is usual to see how individuals tend to lie down according to a stipulated schedule in order to take advantage of the time. Again it has to be remembered that the ultimate goal is to rest and enjoy .

Another problem to avoid is the creation of a routine B (being A the daily routine). In this sense we must assess the need to do things out of the ordinary, that do not involve a constant repetition of the same patterns present in everyday life.

Although the period of leisure that suppose the vacations has to be enjoyed to the maximum, one does not have to forget however the necessity to take into account the economic slope. Unforeseen events are likely.Likewise, enjoyment must be carried out without falling into excess, since a complete lack of control can cause health problems, economic and / or relational.

Recommendations to improve the quality of vacations

Some elements have been discussed to avoid so that the mental regeneration produced by the vacation break does not cloud. Let's see now some basic recommendations to improve the latter .

1. The good thing about improvisation

Among all the recommendations, the main one is to have great flexibility. As already said, the holiday period is full of possible contingencies, and no matter how planned the needs of individuals may change. Being able to improvise and adapt to desires and possibilities is fundamental for an optimal experience of enjoyment .

2. Change of mentality

A second essential element is the fact of totally disconnecting from the normal routine . That is, it is necessary that before the start of the holiday period everything is prepared so that the usual responsibilities do not interrupt (unless greater need) rest.

3. Daring

Another important element is to dare to do new things , because it allows the acquisition of new points of view that can bring great changes to our lives, increasing our creativity.

4. Prevent conflicts

One more consideration that should be taken into account for those whose vacations are carried out in company is the recommendation to choose the activities to be carried out collaboratively. This reinforces the link between the subjects, also providing different perspectives that can help find better options for all.

Start again: the re-entry

The holiday rest period has an end . Keeping this fact in mind and facing it can mean the difference between reincorporating oneself into daily life with energy and optimism and entering a state of depression before the return of obligations, popularly known as post-holiday syndrome.

In this sense a progressive return must be sought to re-adapt to daily life, returning home a few days before , for example, adjusting the circadian rhythms to the usual schedule and in some cases, favoring that the companies allow a progressive reentry. Also, at the beginning of the holidays it is important not to obsess over the remaining time to finish, but to plan to take into account that you are going to return in a specific period.

Bibliographic references

  • Colombo, V. and Cifre, E. (2012). The importance of recovering from work: A review of where, how and why. Papers of the Psychologist, Vol 33 (2), 129-137.
  • Immordino, M. H. et. Al. (2012) Rest Is Not Idleness. Implications of the Brain's Default Mode for Human Development and Education. Perspectives on Psychological Science; 7 (4): 352-364.
  • Leung, A. K. et. Al. (2008) Multicultural experience enhances creativity: the when and how. The American Psychologist; 63 (3): 169-181.
  • Nawijn, J. et al. (2010) Vacationers Happier, but Most Happier After Holiday. Applied Research in Quality of Life; 5 (1): 35-47.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream - Crash Course Psychology #9 (May 2021).


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