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VACATION LETDOWN

How long does it take for vacation afterglow to fade?

Researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel examined that question in a study of 76 clerks at an electronics firm in central Israel. Stress levels and feelings of job burnout were measured by questionnaires twice before a two-week company shutdown for vacation, once during the vacation and twice after the vacation.

Results from the study, which appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology, suggest that a vacation's good feeling was already beginning to fade just three days after the study participants returned to work. By three weeks after, stress levels and feelings of burnout had returned to pre-vacation levels for all participants.

Women benefited most from vacations, the study found. And the beneficial effects of a vacation faded more gradually for people who reported enjoying their vacation the most.

There may be a lesson in that.

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