A recent survey by global travel search engine Skyscanner has found that two fifths of travelers wouldn’t consider a holiday over Easter. However Skyscanner research, in association with Psychologist Dr Rebecca Spelman, highlights why getting away at this time of year has a wealth of health benefits.
The survey revealed that half of travelers leave more than four months between holidays, with 15% waiting a massive nine months between holidays. However, it appears that regular short breaks might be a more effective way to holiday; research by behavioral economist Dan Ariely shows that the benefits of a holiday wane over time, meaning that as we adjust to the time off, we appreciate the opportunity to unwind and de-stress less.
Psychologist Dr Rebecca Spelman suggests “a more effective way to use leisure time is to try to take shorter breaks, every three or four months, rather than one big blow-out once a year.” So if you haven’t taken a break since Christmas, Easter could be the perfect chance to unwind with a holiday.
The first quarter of the working year (Jan – March) is more stressful than any other period, according to 34% of workers questioned in Skyscanner’s survey. Easter this year is at the beginning of April so is the perfect time to get away from the stress and recharge batteries. Dr Spelman explains: “When we work too much it causes stress, which can start to interfere with everyday life. The longer this goes on for the worse it becomes for your body and mind. You might feel tired, have difficulty concentrating and start feeling irritable and experiencing mood swings triggered by very minor situations and taking a holiday will help us relax and get some energy back.”
The combination of short days and cold weather over winter can have a negative psychological impact on some and so getting some guaranteed sun at this time of year can really lift spirits. Dr Spelman explains: “The short days in winter can affect our natural biorhythms and our hormone balance making some of us feel down or depressed so, by the time Easter comes around, a holiday in the sun can make a real contribution to our psychological well-being as it will boost our mood and make us feel more positive.” She continues: “The very process of booking a holiday gives you something to look forward to, people can feel excitement about the forthcoming holiday which can be incredibly mood enhancing.”
Another psychological hit with an Easter break can come in the form of getting a bargain. Dr Spelman explains: “Getting a bargain has positive effects on people psychologically, it results in people feeling clever, skilled and fulfilled”.
With flight prices in Easter often substantially cheaper than during peak summer season (see below), combined with recent analysis that shows that the best time to book is eight weeks in advance of travel – now is a great time to pick up an Easter bargain and a sense of smugness too!
With only 13% of those surveyed looking forward to the Easter holiday period most (in comparison to summer and winter), our expectations are at their lowest for a break at this time of year. However that is no bad thing - holidays with the lowest expectations mean it is easier to exceed them, giving a greater sense of satisfaction and boosting general feelings of happiness. “With lower expectations, you increase your chances of exceeding them and this will directly influence your mental health, doubling your level of happiness.” states Dr Spelman.