THE BLOG

Why Brits Need More Holidays

17/10/2014 11:24 BST | Updated 16/12/2014 10:59 GMT

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Tired, stressed and in need of some sun? Apparently the average Brit now 'needs' a holiday every 56 days. But are we getting enough?

Travelling is fantastic. You know I love it! It's fun, it's rejuvenating, and it makes us feel alive. But of course, it's not just me who feels this way -- the results of a recent study, shows that we'd all benefit from taking more regular holidays (or as many days away from the grind as poss). And I agree!

Sound familiar?

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But it also seems that our idea of a 'regular holiday' isn't quite regular enough. While the survey shows we think we should be getting away every 56 days, some of us are going as long as 13 months without taking a break. Crazy!

I mean, I know I go away a lot but that is way too long! As you know, I'm a massive advocate of self love and self care and I think depriving yourself of a break for that long is actually kinda criminal! Because by doing that you're not looking out for yourself. You're not respecting your own happiness.

Reduce Your Stress & Go Away

The study, which surveyed 2,000 travellers, revealed that stress and tiredness begins to affect us again around eight weeks after we return. Why, then, are we waiting so long to take our next adventure? Why aren't we properly prioritising our health?

Well, here are a few of the biggest factors that affect people having a break:

Having Children

Having children makes it harder (bless 'em!). While adults without kids, can affectively, pack a suitcase at any time, parents are limited to school holidays, so as not to interfere with their children's education. Half terms come round regularly enough, but travel prices do sadly tend to rocket at these peak times.

Money

And, unfortunately, money is a big factor in our reluctance to go away.

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64% of people in the North West -- more than anywhere else in the UK -- simply can't afford to go on holiday, and while Londoners are the least likely to feel that way, 48% of them can't stretch to a break. That's still an awful lot of people.

So Make Compromises!

But travelling doesn't have to break the bank, especially if you book early and research cheaper destinations. So, if Rome is your dream holiday location, you could compromise and go to Perugia instead. You'll still benefit from getting away.

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And we do all benefit, albeit in different ways, according to the study. Most of us know it, too: a massive 77% believe it's unhealthy to go a whole year without taking time off, but one in five admit that they don't actually live by that themselves. I think we could all benefit from being a little more spontaneous, throwing caution to the wind, and hopping on a plane now and then (I do it as often as I can!). Work is much less demoralising after a week away, and we're usually much better at it when we return.

Location Specific

People in the South West feel the most productive when they go back to the office after a holiday, while 25% of people in East Anglia report a 'renewed lust for life' after being away. If travelling is important to you, you'll probably find a way of doing it -- so maybe we just need to prioritise better. And, as the study shows that being overtired is the main cause for that unshakeable holiday craving, we should probably listen to our bodies more, too.

Branson is the Best Boss Ever!

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That's what Richard Branson is asking his employees to do, anyway. Branson, after implementing a "no holiday policy" policy, has given his personal staff the freedom to take a break whenever they want, however often they want, and for however long they want -- providing they feel they're up-to-date with their work. While this does have the potential to be abused, it seems unlikely that anybody will do so -- after all, Branson's employees are unlikely to find that laid-back attitude to holidays elsewhere. Hire me Sir!

Not Using Holiday Days (Are you Kidding me?! Why?)

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But it's also possible that lack of holiday time isn't actually the problem. In fact, a lot of Brits aren't even using up the time they're given. Maybe that's because of money, or maybe it's because of the kids. Maybe it's because we're not valuing holidays highly enough.

Lack of funds is not necessarily a good reason to avoid using holiday time. Surely, just a few days home from work is better than nothing -- since employers are no longer allowed to incentivise staying at work by allowing employees to 'cash in' their holiday pay, there's no good reason to spend your time off in the office. Especially not when it's possible to go on holiday so cheaply. WWOOFing, for example, costs nothing.

Staycations On The Rise

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Staycations, or stay-at-home holidays, have become increasingly popular too - and, fair enough, they allow parents to take a break from work and have fun without pulling their kids out of school. In fact, only a few weeks ago I went up to the Lake District and it was exactly the kind of break I needed. It was rejuvenating & only took a few hours to get there. A change of scenery can be exactly what the Dr ordered!

Long Weekends

Long weekends aren't intrusive, either: with the school bell ringing around 3pm, families can be on the other side of the country, or even abroad, by night-time. It can be tempting to cram as much activity as possible into a weekend away, but for a lot of people, that can really offset the benefits of taking time off. If you return to work feeling more tired than when you left, you may be doing the whole holiday thing wrong.

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So, if you want to lounge about on the beach with a cocktail, but feel you have to power through regardless -- as around half of people do -- then maybe you should reconsider. Holidays are good for us. Unfortunately the same can't be said of that piña colada. Muhahaha....

Oh whatever! Hand one over to me anyway!

What stops you from booking as many holidays as your heart desires?