Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Sha'ban 28, 1444 H
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Plan ahead... don't delay!

After several months of travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the pressure to take a vacation is increasing, everyone wants different things from their vacation and this is normal.

Unfortunately, we notice that a number of individuals are trying to skip the vacation, which is really a mistake and harmful to their health, while repeating that. In fact, vacations increase the perceived quality of life for most people more than health, money and work. Of course, one needs health and money for a vacation and even being with the people they love is key to a good vacation, so these things cannot be completely separated. True, this effect may be short-lived, but the point remains that most people find that vacations enhance their happiness.

However, different people enjoy different vacation spots, depending on their tastes, the memories associated with them and even their own psychological behaviors. Regardless of your motives and vacation goals, you will surely get more happiness through your vacation if you share it with the people close to you.

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest sources of happiness from a pleasurable activity is the anticipation and even preparation for it. Some neuroscience research suggests that anticipation stimulates one of the reward-processing areas of the brain. However, keep in mind that excessive anticipation can backfire if you imagine your vacation will put you in a state of constant bliss! You may notice how the satisfaction we get from escaping tends to wear off rather quickly. While on vacation, people are healthier, less stressed, more energetic, more satisfied and in better spirits. Unfortunately, these effects may largely disappear within the first week of returning to work.

On the other hand, you notice that some people engage in work-related activities and this fact reduces the positive effects of the holiday after one and three days of returning to work. Taking a mental break from work is one of the main points of vacation and perhaps here we fail to achieve that goal when we are not ready to disengage!

Of course, if all goes well and you get a great vacation, it will increase your enjoyment and life satisfaction with your current situation. This is good news, but the bad news is that a return to normal life can be surprisingly disappointing for some people. And here I think the best way to prepare for this disappointment is to understand that such interaction is to be expected, not necessarily an indication that something in your ordinary life is badly wrong.

Finally, you can not make any significant changes in your life for at least two weeks after the vacation and that to allow time for your measure of happiness to return to normal and also to realize the value of the experience during the vacation. After all, the goal is not just a great post-pandemic vacation or associated period, but the idea of creating a post-pandemic routine to be happier as well. (The author is a physician, a medical innovator and writer)

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