The UK's largest healthcare charity and Kuoni Travel surveyed 2,845 UK adults between 14 April to 30 June 2012 to find out how a holiday can help to alleviate the effects that everyday life has on our mental and physical wellbeing.
The research showed that taking a break can improve our lives in four key ways:
- It enables us to break out of our routine
- Gives us an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones
- Gives us fresh perspective on our lives
- Enables us to relax and recharge our batteries
- 44 percent said it took between 1 and 2 days
- 23 per cent said it took between 3 and 4 days
- Younger adults (16-24) were most likely to worry the longest (74 per cent)
This survey is part of a bigger research study Kuoni and Nuffield Health are doing this year called The Holiday Health Experiment. Across August, Kuoni are sending three different couples away on three radically different types of holiday - to Amazonian Peru, to Thailand and to the Maldives. Nuffield Health and psychotherapist, Christine Webber, will be conducting medical tests on the couples before, during and after the holidays.
Says Chris Jones: “This case study-based experiment will give us an interesting insight into how holidays may impact on a person’s wellbeing. I am looking forward to analysing the data from this unique experiment which will hopefully focus people’s minds on the importance of managing everyday stress and worries – perhaps from work - and ensure time is built into their busy lives to improve their wellbeing.”
And nearly two thirds (63%) of UK adults say that holidays most impact on their physical and emotional wellbeing because it gives them a chance to relax.
And talking of emotions, half of the people who travel with their partner said that the most significant benefit of their holiday was the chance to reconnect with their loved one. This might explain why luxurious beach holidays are so popular with travelling lovers.
Says Christine Webber, psychotherapist on this project: “People in the UK have serious worries about money, their futures and their careers. Many individuals are having to work increasingly long hours with a lengthy commute on top in a bid to save their jobs. Exhaustion is commonplace, both in those working and those who are wearing themselves out trying to find a job. And the current prevailing mood for many Britons is one of intense anxiety - because no one seems to know how long the current downturn will continue.
“This sort of situation has a massive impact on family life in general, and on relationships between couples in particular. Anecdotally, we know that holidays can help people to re-charge their batteries, and to re-connect with each other and rediscover the joy they find in each other’s company. We also know that when most people say ‘I need a holiday’ what they mean is that they need sleep, sun, a change of scene, plenty of rest, and time for their nearest and dearest. I am looking forward immensely to finding out if a holiday does indeed repair the damage that our normal lives can inflict on us. I also hope to discover whether people can be aware of the factors that bring about positive changes during vacations, and can then introduce some of these factors on their return home, in a bid to make their normal day-to-day existences more mentally and physically healthy.”
Derek Jones, MD Kuoni, said: “This study highlights the health benefits of a significant 10-day to two week holiday. Kuoni is well known for its expertise in tailor-making trips to long-haul destinations across the globe, and it seems more time away means the better we unwind and recover from the demands of our busy lives.”
- 38 per cent of Londoners say that the greatest impact of a holiday is giving their body a chance to recover and 25 per cent say that relaxation is what they value most about a holiday
- Londoners are also the most likely to say their daily life is time pressured (56 per cent)
- 76 per cent of Glaswegians say that relaxation on holiday has the greatest impact on their physical and emotional wellbeing (the highest percentage across the UK)
- 44 per cent of people from Manchester and Newcastle prioritise the opportunity a holiday provides to help you switch off
- Nottingham and Cardiff
- Cardiff (81 per cent)
- Belfast (76 per cent)
- Sheffield (72 per cent)
- Plymouth, London and Birmingham (68 per cent)