Going on a vacation is an experience that everyone deserves to have. Spending some time in a beautiful area is important to reward and refresh the body and mind, and it can make us work better and say motivated when we get back to the daily grind.
But even while we’re away, it can be a challenge to keep stress out of our minds. Worries like, “Did I send that e-mail before going on leave?” and “I have to remember how many meetings I have to be at when I get back” can interrupt a lovely day in the sun. So here are some tips to help you stay stress-free on a trip.
1. As much as possible, unplug
There are times for work and play, and now that you’re on vacation, focus on the latter. Put work-related apps and notifications on mute (or set your status to Away mode) to help your mind get into that good relaxation mindset. Constantly seeing and checking on your devices for reminders puts unnecessary anxiety on your shoulders, and it takes you away from experiencing your time off to the fullest. Going off the online grid helps your eyes take a break, as well.
2. Get your snooze on
Worrying about work even though you are miles away from your desk can mess with your entire trip. A great way to counter this is to take a good, old-fashioned nap. Sleeping acts like a reset button, and since you’ve got time to yourself while traveling, take the liberty of having a nap whenever the need arises. Alternatively, if midday naps aren’t your thing, you can opt to skip your destination’s nightlife spots to get a full night’s sleep.
3. If possible, dive in
When we get stressed, cortisol (or the stress hormone) can cause our internal body temperature to rise, which can lead to irritability and high blood pressure. If your destination has a pool or a beach nearby, take a dip. Cooling down in any body of water can relax both the body and the mind, which can help you cut the anxieties back easier. Even just hanging out by a river or looking at waterfalls can help lower cortisol levels.
4. Listen to a soothing podcast
Nowadays, there are podcasts for anything. They can be serious discussions about literature, Internet personalities sharing funny stories, and ASMR artists setting a relaxing mental scene about writing. Podcasts are a great way to tune out thoughts of worry while learning different things. There are also live radio channels that play relaxing sounds like meditation gongs and binaural beats. It’s an effective way to access a more “Zen” mood on vacation.
5. Try a calming class
Attending a class while on the road could be difficult because of the timing, but one can always rely on the Internet for this one. Short online courses won’t be too demanding, and you can always choose to end the lessons when you’ve had your fill. Classes like basic knitting, calligraphy, or even tea-making are available, as well as self-help and meditation classes like deep breathing, yoga lessons, and even online tai chi classes. Having something else to focus on, even for just a short amount of time, can ease stress quickly.
6. See the sights
A vacation isn’t a vacation unless you go out and explore the local area. Put on some comfy footwear, grab your camera, and take a tour of the destination. Taking a dip into the local scene allows you to stay in the present and lets you enjoy what the place has to offer. That pesky voice rambling about deadlines to catch up on won’t be audible once you eat the street food in Bangkok or snap pictures of the beautiful views in New Zealand.
Leaving the workplace stress behind while you’re on the go can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. All it takes is a good amount of mindfulness, positive distractions, and a willingness to let go and be fully present. Getting the time to go on a vacation can be challenging in tough times, so it’s best to make the most of it when you can. You can always get back to your papers and spreadsheets, but seeing the sunset at a secluded beach in Bali is rare, so treasure it.
A vacation is rewarding, and missing out on the full experience is something that nobody should experience. Make sure to unplug and resist checking your work inbox, and let loose. Just have fun because you surely deserve it.