Do you need a break? When’s the last time you took a vacation? You might be acclimated to the stress that you have and may not think you need one.
If you don’t take a break from time to time, stress can take its toll on your mind and body. If you are more irritable and anxious than you’d like to be, you may just need a vacation. Vacations help us break out of the stress cycle so we are able to gain a new perspective on our life and our challenges.
Once you decide to get away, here are some ways to make sure you benefit from the time away.
>> Define your purpose: What is the purpose of the trip? Is it for family bonding? Is it for relaxation? Is it to see and experience new things? Is it to learn about a new culture? Don’t do what people say you “should” do when you go on vacation. Determine what it is you need from this time away.
>> Research your place: Based on your trip’s purpose, do your online research about the place in advance. There’s nothing worse than finding out after it’s too late that there was a better beach, hike, show, hideout, activity or event that you would have liked to experience.
>> Embrace this opportunity: While most people are happy for you when they hear you are going on vacation, a certain friend, a particular family member, co-worker or boss may make you feel guilty about leaving. In this case, let the guilt go. Remind yourself that the better you feel when you come back, the better of person you’ll be for them after this break.
>> Allow yourself to check email: If you know that by not checking work email, you’ll come back to an overwhelming situation, or you’ll stress too much about what you’re missing when away, then plan a small part of each day while you’re on vacation to take care of the important things in your email.
But make sure you keep work concerns contained to the time you set aside.
>> If you don’t have time for an elaborate vacation, take a short and simple get-away: In the “old days” life moved at a slower pace and going on vacation for weeks seemed much easier. Now with the accelerated pace of life, it’s not as easy for many to get away for an extended period. Research shows that half of travel today is done on two- to three-day mini-vacations each year.
If scheduling a long vacation is not possible for you, how do you make a downsized vacation both restful and restorative? You make it a “mindful vacation.” Mindfulness is the complete opposite of multitasking.
So instead of treating a vacation like we do our work where we try to be as productive as possible, simplify the time away. Be fully present for yourself, those you are traveling with and to your surroundings. Think of it as a time to recharge your mental batteries with no “to do” list, but rather use it as a time to “unpack” mental baggage so when you get home you have clarity and renewed energy.
Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U. Visit yourhappinessu.com.