Put Relaxation Back in Vacation

October 9, 2017

 

 

Stress Less: Four Tips to Put the Relaxation Back in Vacation

 

 

 

Vacations are supposed to be the holy grail of relaxation. In theory, you leave all your stress behind in favor of long walks on the beach, mid-afternoon naps, and time spent with the people you love. A vacation is meant to be an escape from the day-to-day that allows you to refresh your mind, body, and spirit.

 

In actuality, that’s only partially true. It’s proven that just the idea of vacation puts you in a better mood up to eight weeks before you even leave, and you’ll keep experiencing that “vacation high” for a couple of weeks after you return. But what about while you’re actually away? According to a Glassdoor survey, more than 60 percent of us continue to work while we’re on vacation. Yet, even in this world where we are constantly connected, there are a few things we can do to ensure our time away is as relaxing as possible.

 

The first tip for maximizing vacation relaxation is pretty simple: take one. In other words, use your vacation days! In order reap the rewards of a stress-free, relaxation-heavy vacation, you actually have to get up from your desk and walk out of the building. That same survey from Glassdoor showed that the average American employee only took half of the paid time off available to them, and many used the time for other tasks like interviewing for a new job. That’s definitely more stressful than stress free.

 

Next, establish some ground rules. Before you leave, define how you want your vacation to look. If you’ll be traveling with family or friends, ask them to lay out their expectations as well. Chances are, your significant other and/or children will ask you to unplug entirely. Then again, coming back to work with a thousand new emails to respond to may give you more anxiety than it’s worth. So if you can’t eliminate work entirely, vow to only check emails first thing in the morning when you wake up. Then you can focus on being present and in the moment for the remainder of each day. Time spent with your loved ones is one of the most relaxing aspects of taking a vacation. Making a plan and sticking to it will allow you to fully enjoy it.

 

Another way to ensure your vacation is as relaxing as possible is to spend some time off the beaten path. Cityscapes, art museums, and nightlife are all great ways to soak in local culture, but they can be crowded, difficult to get to, and costly. In addition to (or in lieu of) these activities, be sure to set aside some time to enjoy nature. Getting outside, even for just a few minutes, is proved to reduce stress. If you’re vacationing in an urban area, a walk in a nearby park can help you feel more relaxed. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even plan to spend your whole vacation away from the hustle and bustle. A cabin in the mountains, a tent in the woods, or a bed and breakfast overlooking the countryside are all great options for nature-based retreats.

 

Finally, be sure to take care of things at home before you leave. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination, ready to relax, only to be distracted... wondering whether you locked the door, unplugged the curling iron, or set the alarm. To prevent worrying about the safety of your home and belongings from ruining your trip, enlist a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor to keep an eye on things while you’re away. You’ll be glad you did.

 

When it comes down to it, no vacation will ever be entirely stress free. In fact, if you work too hard at it, your stress-reducing tactics could end up being stress-inducing. That said, approaching your time off with a realistic plan and being mindful of those expectations once you get to your destination will go a long way to helping you achieve a little vacation zen.

 

 

Vacations are supposed to be the holy grail of relaxation. In theory, you leave all your stress behind in favor of long walks on the beach, mid-afternoon naps, and time spent with the people you love. A vacation is meant to be an escape from the day-to-day that allows you to refresh your mind, body, and spirit.

 

In actuality, that’s only partially true. It’s proven that just the idea of vacation puts you in a better mood up to eight weeks before you even leave, and you’ll keep experiencing that “vacation high” for a couple of weeks after you return. But what about while you’re actually away? According to a Glassdoor survey, more than 60 percent of us continue to work while we’re on vacation. Yet, even in this world where we are constantly connected, there are a few things we can do to ensure our time away is as relaxing as possible.

 

The first tip for maximizing vacation relaxation is pretty simple: take one. In other words, use your vacation days! In order reap the rewards of a stress-free, relaxation-heavy vacation, you actually have to get up from your desk and walk out of the building. That same survey from Glassdoor showed that the average American employee only took half of the paid time off available to them, and many used the time for other tasks like interviewing for a new job. That’s definitely more stressful than stress free.

 

Next, establish some ground rules. Before you leave, define how you want your vacation to look. If you’ll be traveling with family or friends, ask them to lay out their expectations as well. Chances are, your significant other and/or children will ask you to unplug entirely. Then again, coming back to work with a thousand new emails to respond to may give you more anxiety than it’s worth. So if you can’t eliminate work entirely, vow to only check emails first thing in the morning when you wake up. Then you can focus on being present and in the moment for the remainder of each day. Time spent with your loved ones is one of the most relaxing aspects of taking a vacation. Making a plan and sticking to it will allow you to fully enjoy it.

 

Another way to ensure your vacation is as relaxing as possible is to spend some time off the beaten path. Cityscapes, art museums, and nightlife are all great ways to soak in local culture, but they can be crowded, difficult to get to, and costly. In addition to (or in lieu of) these activities, be sure to set aside some time to enjoy nature. Getting outside, even for just a few minutes, is proved to reduce stress. If you’re vacationing in an urban area, a walk in a nearby park can help you feel more relaxed. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even plan to spend your whole vacation away from the hustle and bustle. A cabin in the mountains, a tent in the woods, or a bed and breakfast overlooking the countryside are all great options for nature-based retreats.

 

Finally, be sure to take care of things at home before you leave. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination, ready to relax, only to be distracted... wondering whether you locked the door, unplugged the curling iron, or set the alarm. To prevent worrying about the safety of your home and belongings from ruining your trip, enlist a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor to keep an eye on things while you’re away. You’ll be glad you did.

 

When it comes down to it, no vacation will ever be entirely stress free. In fact, if you work too hard at it, your stress-reducing tactics could end up being stress-inducing. That said, approaching your time off with a realistic plan and being mindful of those expectations once you get to your destination will go a long way to helping you achieve a little vacation zen.

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