Why it's a job to switch off on holiday: Brits take almost FIVE days to relax and truly unwind

That eagerly-awaited summer holiday on your calendar might seem like the perfect time to unwind, but it seems we'll spend most of it feeling stressed out.

It's been revealed today that it takes almost FIVE days to unwind on holiday, which is bad news considering many of us only jet off for a week at a time.

New research showed it takes an average of four days, eight hours and 24 minutes before we're fully relaxed - making that long weekend away you've just booked feel almost redundant.

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It seems our stressful working lives are to blame for the stress, with 40 per cent of us saying it takes them at least four days to switch off and just over a quarter saying they need the full five days.

Work smartphones and laptops help contribute to our inability to switch off Monster.co.uk found, with one in 10 worryingly admitting they can never completely switch off from the job.

According to Andrew Stead, happiness expert and founder of your-daily-bread.co.uk, it's no surprise many of us find it so hard to truly switch off and relax.

"Considering our stressful lives and the incredible pressure we put ourselves under, it's no surprise to me," he told Yahoo! Lifestyle.

"We're under incredible psychological and physical pressure and even emotional pressure in our relationships.

"This all definitely impacts our wellbeing. So it's no surprise it can take on average five days for you to get the benefits."

Modern lifestyles play a huge factor too he explained, with our busy lives meaning we're under more strain than ever before.

"I think there's [definitely] more pressure on us than ever before," he insisted.

"Ironically, as a human condition we are better off than we have ever been. But work plays a big role in our physical health too.

"So when we come to have a holiday, our body and minds need a complete rest and it can take a few days to relax."

But, as Andrew explains, it's important we don't let research such as this put us off taking a holiday. As while it may take us a good few days to relax, holidays are important for our relaxation.

"Holidays are very important to have," he explained.

"On the one hand, it's not healthy to have just one break a year. It would be better to have breaks, both physically and mentally, in the working day and at weekends.

"It would be nice to all feel we can relax for 20 minutes in one day. Or at least take our lunch breaks.

"But holidays are one aspect of that. Even bank holidays weekends help."

Michael Gentle, Head of Consumer Marketing at Monster.co.uk, agrees. He added: “The fact that it is taking so long for workers to unwind when on holiday is indicative of the ‘always switched on’ culture we now live in. 

"In the past we used to be able to go on holiday and disappear from the ‘working world’.  Now most of us go away armed with our mobiles and tablets, and don’t think anything of checking our work emails from our Mediterranean villa."
He continued: “While the British work ethic should be applauded, holidays provide an important opportunity to refresh and recharge the batteries, ready for the challenges ahead. By not relaxing fully, workers are putting themselves at risk of burn out, which will be detrimental to them and their employer in the long run.

"So remember to switch off, enjoy the break and leave work to your capable colleagues back home.”


1. Try not to take work with you

It might be easier said than done, but switch off your phone and laptop while you're away. It's easy to say, but most of us don't ever manage it.

2. Get out in the sun
Lying on the beach is a great way to really unwind from it all, plus you're getting a good boost of vitamin D which is so incredibly important.

3. Catch up on sleep
Holidays are some of the best times to really unwind and get yourself some much-needed Zzzzs. Even if you have a nap on the beach during the day, make sure you get what your body needs.

4. Do some exercise you don't usually do

Having a swim in the sea or try beach volleyball. When you're doing exercise you don't do regularly, it's not just good for you physically but mentally too.

5. Appreciate time with your friends and family

If you're away with a bigger group, take time to really appreciate who you're with. Often holidays are some of the best chances for us to catch up properly with friends and family, in contrast to periods where we don't see them so much and we're working ourselves to the bones.

How do you relax? Tell us over on Twitter, now.

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