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Reasons why holidays are necessary - a South African perspective

Why we must take regular breaks to focus on ourselves, de-stress and make time to enjoy activities that make us feel healthier and happier. Picture by

Why we must take regular breaks to focus on ourselves, de-stress and make time to enjoy activities that make us feel healthier and happier. Picture by

Published Mar 24, 2023


According to research by the World Health Organization (WHO), happiness and mental well-being are closely linked.

Studies have shown that happy people have better mental well-being and are less likely to suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress.

This is particularly important in South Africa, where mental health is becoming an increasing concern.

One of the reasons for this is the high levels of trauma experienced as a country. The high rate of crime, GBV, poverty, and how we can forget our daily bread, load shedding all take a toll on people's mental health.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, one in six South Africans suffers from anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. This makes it even more important for people to prioritise their own mental well-being, which includes seeking happiness.

Hence why we must take regular breaks to focus on ourselves, de-stress and make time to enjoy activities that make us feel healthier and happier. Happiness goes hand in hand with motivation because when we’re happy, our motivation increases, enabling us to be more productive and fire on all cylinders again when we do get back to the office.

The Tourism Analysis journal published a study that revealed that people who travel frequently for pleasure are more satisfied with their lives than what non-travellers are.

The study also showed that those who regularly share and discuss travel ideas and plans with family and friends are more likely to have their holidays materialised. Some evidence then that ditching your normal routine and experiencing new things is beneficial to your overall well-being.

A journal entry titled Happiness Through Vacationing: Just a Temporary Boost or Long-Term Benefits?, posed the question of vacationing adds to our happiness in the long run. The study found that those who had vacationed looked to be slightly happier than those who had not, in terms of the hedonic degree of effect.

The health benefits of happiness are undeniable, according to Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts. This idea is further strengthened by the fact that in 2012, the United Nations designated the twentieth of March as an annual International Day of Happiness.

“There is no doubt that taking a break and getting away from it all on a holiday is a great way to rejuvenate and de-stress, helping to release endorphins that can aid in boosting your immune system and add to your sense of overall happiness,” said Lamont in a statement.

Three reasons why holidays can make you happier:

Pre-trip excitement: Holidays are exciting! Choosing a destination, creating an itinerary, and making travel arrangements are exciting and give you something to look forward to. A sense of anticipation is also sparked by the idea of sharing unique and unforgettable experiences with loved ones and having quality time with them. Undoubtedly, the simple thought of being able to spend free time without worrying about a job or family can increase enjoyment before a trip.

Greater life satisfaction: Because experiences last while the joy of tangible things does not, spending money on experiences rather than possessions makes one feel more satisfied. According to a third-party research survey, 74% of consumers increasingly prioritise experiences over material possessions, according to

Strengthens family ties: Life is often so busy as we focus on work and the usual activities of running a household that it often leaves us with little time to connect with our partner or children. Family vacation fosters bonding, such occasions make us aware of how closely we are bonded to these people. In an unfamiliar setting, we frequently become more aware of our similarities than our differences.

Sharing fun activities, engaging with each other, and having the time to listen rather than just hear will bring the family closer again and add to the happiness of a holiday.

The advantages of taking a vacation and its association with happiness are evident, especially if you want to be your best and handle the demands of daily life. Even though very few individuals require much encouragement. You owe it to yourself to make travel plans to take care of your physical and mental needs while also reviving your spirit, advises Lamont.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.