Three-quarters of Americans want to see National Relaxation Day (Aug. 15) become an official U.S. holiday, according to a new national survey. Overworked and over-scheduled, Americans are so eager to adopt and observe this day of rest, they are even willing to trade-in an established holiday like Columbus or Labor Day.
The national survey was commissioned by Princess Cruises for its second annual “Relaxation Report.” Princess Cruises, which helps more than 1.3 million passengers annually unwind aboard its worldwide fleet of ships, commissioned the survey to examine Americans’ relationships with vacations and the pursuit of leisure.
“Americans are busier than ever – be it for work or family,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “The overwhelming support for an official, nationally recognized day of relaxation demonstrates that we need reminders – and in some cases, permission – to simply relax and escape from our everyday routine.”
Nearly a quarter (23%) of Americans have never had a relaxing vacation, and, for those who have, it has been an average of three years since they last took a break from the routine grind of daily life. Three-quarters (74%) of Americans reported their inability to relax frequently negatively affects their mental and physical health.
“Although many Americans wish they could have National Relaxation Day off from work, there are plenty of other creative ways to observe the occasion–relaxing the dress code, opening the office later or leaving early, or sponsoring a calming staff activity,” said Swartz. “To celebrate this day, Princess Cruises will be providing our employees with complimentary yoga classes as well as shifting the dress code from ‘business-casual’ to ‘summer-fun.’”
In addition to making National Relaxation Day official, the Relaxation Report revealed a few other surprising revelations on Americans’ dreams of relaxation.
Relaxation is difficult
Despite the current economic climate, two out of five (40%) Americans think finding time to wind down is even harder than living within their budget (60%). And while technology may be making things easier for some, half (50%) of those surveyed agreed that having a smartphone by their side actually makes it harder to check out.
American families are well aware of the stresses of everyday living, and while three out of four (76%) parents would feel guilty leaving their little ones behind, more than half (54%) of parents say their perfect vacation wouldn’t include their children!
Relax, they’re just celebrities
As wound-up as the average American may be, being famous can be stressful in its own right. On the heels of their widely publicized tour of Canada and California, Americans think William and Kate are the couple that is most deserving of a break from media scrutiny (35%) with the Obamas as a close second (34%), followed by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (21%).
Constantly being in front of a camera would be stressful for most of us; however the few that seem to do it well every day have not gone unnoticed. Americans voted for ABC’s Diane Sawyer as the most relaxed, camera-composed newsperson (27%), followed by NBC’s Matt Lauer (23%) and CNN’s Anderson Cooper (20%).
Time is on our side
Most experts suggest creating minor moments of “me time” during the day, but Americans think that taking a week away delivers longer lasting results. Nearly half (45%) of Americans think a weeklong vacation is more likely to reduce the stress in their lives than taking small moments each day to decompress.
Americans also agreed that it takes an average of two days to settle in and let the time off clear their busy minds – meaning a weekend trip just won’t cut it.
A toast to sleeping in
The 2011 Relaxation Report also illustrates a directional shift in Americans’ favored methods of achieving relaxation. In the 2010 report, Americans opted for reading (25%) and getting up early (55%) while on vacation.*
This year, however, roles were reversed, with Americans enjoying a cocktail (24%) and sleeping in (65%) as the preferred ways to unwind. Cheers to that!
About the 2011 survey
The Relaxation Report, commissioned by Princess Cruises, was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,005 nationally representative Americans ages 18+ between July 7th and July 13th, 2011, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population 18 and older.
With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within +3.1 percentage points, 95 times out of 100, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled.
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I am one of those that would love to see National Relaxation Day become a national holiday. We work way too hard in this country and we don't take enough time to relax. I have started to spend time each day just relaxing and I find that when I do this, I sleep better at night and am much more productive. Relaxation is much easier than people think but at one time I felt the same way.
Don Shetterly on 15 August, 2011