Most of us spend our 9 to five counting down the seconds to the next public holiday, ready to turn on our Out Of Office and switch off from the real world. For those lucky few who accrue enough annual leave to actually go on vacay, it's tempting to go MIA for few months at a time.
However, a new study has found that the ideal amount of time to spend AWOL is a shockingly brief 7 to 11 days.
Researchers at Finland's University of Tampere studied the work-related stress levels of participants over the course of their holiday. They found that those vacationing for 7 to 11 days experienced the most restful breaks, free from thoughts about work or impending to-do lists.
It might not sound like much, but a little over a week is just enough time to switch off and come back feeling refreshed. Anything longer than 11 days and we find ourselves worrying about the amount of tasks piling up in our absence.
On the flip side, a weekend trip away isn't enough time for us to completely relax and detach ourselves from work.
"Vacations represent the longest period of temporary absence from work and may, therefore, constitute a more powerful respite opportunity than shorter rest intervals," say researchers.
The magic number? 8 days away is enough to switch off from work without fretting about unanswered emails. "Our results showed that health and wellness rapidly increase after the start of the holiday and seemed to peak on the eighth vacation day," researchers say.
With the today's technology and the ever-presence of social media, it can be hard to totally remove ourselves from real life and responsibilities. When it comes to booking your next getaway, think about how long you can go before you start thinking about work.
As tempting as it might be, you're better off enjoying a work-free week and coming back refreshed, rather than replying to work emails here and there whilst on a month-long holiday.
This story originally appeared on Women's Health