Why holidays go so fast

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why good times go so fast

Why do holidays end so fast?
Why do good times end very quickly?
Why a typical work day is long and boring?

In order to help you answer those questions let me first ask you an important question. Why do you think time passes fast when you sleep?

The reason time passes so fast when you sleep is that you do not become conscious of time. Once you become unconscious time passes much faster. During a boring work day you are very likely to keep checking the time every now and then. This makes you very conscious of time and as a result it feels like it's passing so slowly. See also What is the subconscious mind.

Now compare this to a holiday where you are enjoying your time and hardly checking the clock. This will make you more unconscious of time and so you will believe it's passing so fast.

Bad emotions slow down time

When you feel bad it becomes very hard to do any task. Because bad emotions create a burden on your brain you will hardly be able to focus on something else and as a result time will pass slower.

Good emotions on the other hand keep you distracted. When you feel good You will hardly check the time because you will be very busy enjoying it and this is why it passes so fast. See Why keeping yourself busy when facing a problem never works.

If you ever tried to work while feeling down then you will probably get this concept. You will have to exert a great resistance to do anything and this will make time seem like it's passing slowly.

You stick to routine on holidays

Studies have shown that when we experience new things our brains do more work to store them in our memories and as a result time seems to be passing slower. This is one reason why when you come back from a holiday in a different country you might believe that you spent a very long period of time there.

Now the opposite will happen if you did the same routine on holidays. If you did the same exact things every weekends then no new memories will be formed and so time will seem to be passing so fast. See also Why do some people get depressed during the holidays

Holidays are already short

It doesn't need a lot of thinking to realize that holidays are already short compared to work days. A typical person would have to work for 5 days before they can take 2 days off. Also if a person plans to travel or spend a long holiday then probably they will have to work for many weeks before doing so.

Time passes quickly in all cases but because holidays are relatively shorter it feels like they pass so fast. If you want to make your holidays last longer then make sure you do lots of new things on them.

The new experiences will make the day seem longer and you will believe that your holiday was longer than usual.

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