Mehiläinen customer survey: sense of duty bothers one in five of the holidaymakers

Press release 13 June 2022

Holidays are approaching, but the holiday mood doesn't always come naturally. Many people are prevented from relaxing during their holidays by unfinished tasks (48%), work-related issues (31%) and a sense of duty (23%). This result is based on a survey of 738 Mehiläinen customers*. According to occupational psychologist Sari Valavuori, many people go on holiday under-recharged, in which case instead of recharging, they spend their holiday recovering.

The holidaymaker dreams that at the end of the last working day, the work will be out of the mind, and relaxation and peace will descend. But this is not always the case: A recent survey of Mehiläinen's customer base shows that 18% of respondents say it takes at least a week to get in the holiday mood, but for some (3%) even the whole holiday is not enough time to relax.

Too many people are going on vacation at full speed. Then the mind and body are in crisis: what is happening now? The human mind works like a rubber band. When the band is stretched to the limit and the tightening suddenly goes off, it often breaks. This can also manifest itself as physical symptoms at the beginning of a holiday, such as the onset of a cold or even a migraine, Sari Valavuori, occupational psychologist from Mehiläinen, describes.

According to Valavuori, relaxing on holiday is even more difficult and needs to be anticipated and ensured. More and more people go on holiday without having recovered sufficiently from everyday life.

Vacation isn't supposed to be recovery. It's supposed to be recharging for the future. In such situation, the holiday does not fulfil its purpose, Valavuori points out.

The sense of duty bothers even on vacation

There are many things that make it difficult to relax during your holiday. As many as 23% of the respondents to the survey think that relaxation on holiday is hindered by the sense of duty to do something useful on holiday. Unfinished business (48%) and work issues (31%) also weigh on the mind.

- For many people, the rhythm of activity can stay on once the holidays begin. At the beginning of the holiday season, the media is full of tips on how to get into the holiday mood. These guidelines can be compared to weight loss tips: people don't really need them, but they provide a mirroring surface for their own needs. Often, the tips that hit us are the things that we don't have in our everyday lives. It would be important to get to the root causes instead of carrying on.

- In spite of all the nice activities during holiday, filling up your calendar can lead to returning to work and reminiscing about how much fun you had, but you're tired, Valavuori says.

No "getting the world ready" before holiday

As many as 47% of the respondents to Mehiläinen's customer survey think that it would help to get into the holiday mood if they did not have to "get the world ready" before the holiday or if they avoided last-minute busy work before the holiday (51%). According to Valavuori, in addition to individual responsibility, the employer also plays an important role in this.

- It is important that the interaction between the supervisor and the employee is not only based on performance reviews, but also, for example, in good time before the holiday, it would be necessary to review what is the phase of work of the employee and where the employer can be of assistance.

- Although self-direction is increasingly emphasised, the sharing of responsibilities and clarification of the working situation often gives the mental permission to relax. It is often appreciated by employees when it is discussed together how they can take their leave in a more relaxed way," Valavuori concludes.

Occupational psychologist advises: think about these before the holiday!

  • Take a moment to think about what you want from your holiday and what things will help you recover. Give it some time and look at where you see yourself: in a hammock or on a jog? Name one or two things that are important to you for recovery and stick to them.
  • Think about who you're trying to please with your holiday plans, and why? Whether the needs come from within or are derived from external pressures. For example, if you are on holiday with your family or partner, discuss in advance what everyone wants from the holiday. Make sure that at least one wish from everyone is taken into account so that no one is left out of the plans or will have to comply with others’ demands.
  • Calm the beginning and return from your holiday, if possible. Plan your holidays so that you start your holiday in the middle of the week, and do the same when you come back to work. This will lighten both the start of the holiday and the return week. If possible, also put an automatic absence email a few days before you go on holiday and extend it by one day when you return to work.

*) The survey was conducted in Mehiläinen's customer-oriented Customer online community from 24 May to 10 June 2022. 738 people in working life responded to the online survey, of whom 570 were Mehiläinen's occupational health customers.