What’s the best way to plan your time off work for maximum relaxation – one long holiday or several mini-breaks during the year?

In the end, relaxation is not merely a question of how often you take breaks or how long they last, according to experts.

“There was once an assumption that a person needs at least three weeks’ holiday to recover from their work routine,” says Anette Wahl-Wachendorf, vice-president of the German Association of Company Physicians. “But that has since been refuted.”

Even the commonly held assumption that people need a two-week vacation at least once a year isn’t as widely accepted these days.

“Many people believe that several shorter getaways can be just as restorative,” says the expert.

It’s best to simply choose what works best for you. However, employers should always allow one longer vacation per year, says Wahl-Wachendorf. The gap between two holidays should also not be too long, she says, adding that “half a year without a break is not healthy.”

Relaxation is not just about the length of the holiday, but also the type of activities you choose, Wahl-Wachendorf says. “Some people recover best by doing nothing at all, while others need sporty activities.”

Again, it’s about personal preference – one man’s relaxation might be another man’s nightmare. “For example, lying on a beach in the sun for a week is not necessarily healthy, because the sun also causes stress for the body,” Wahl-Wachendorf says.

She recommends trying activities that reinvigorate the body. “This does not have to be a big hike – swimming or cycling is enough.”

A stressful journey can also ruin any plans for true relaxation, warns the expert, such as when jet lag comes into play. “A week’s vacation with a long flight beforehand, for example, is therefore not very relaxing after all.” – dpa

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