Taking some time off provides immeasurable benefits for your mental health, even when you stay close to home. Getting time away from work can help you relax and recharge your psyche, helping to tackle your responsibilities with renewed energy when you get back home.
Considering most adults do not have the capacity or finances to take that dream vacation they have always dreamed of, it can also be stressful only to plan a vacation. Here are some ways to make yourself feel better about taking a mini-vacay and handling post-vacation stress.
Facts About Missed Vacations and Adults
55% of American workers do not go on holiday. And most adults are only getting an average of two weeks of paid vacation — if they get any at all. TIME reports that remote work has forced many adults to change the concept of personal time. More than 60% of workers are working on their vacations. Yet research shows that going on holiday that includes plenty of rest improves your productivity and mental health when you return. In contrast, productivity decreases when you do not take some time off.
A good vacation involves a whole lot of ingredients that need to come together. It takes extra work to make this happen. The balancing between a travel plan and itinerary allows flexibility while checking as many boxes as possible. You also have to account for your budget — both in time and in money. After all of that work, do holidays reduce stress? You bet. According to Inc., the number one way to reduce stress among workers as determined by the American Psychological Association (APA) is holidays.
The biggest trick here is planning the before and afters. Along with post-vacay jitters, you also have vacation planning anxiety that can cause stress. Here is where it pays to use your resources, including travel planners and information about itineraries. If you are effortlessly stressed from planning and organizing activities, then hire a travel planner to do the work for you, especially if this is your first real holiday as an adult.
Why Skipping Holidays Adds Stress
According to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, who teaches gerontology in Boston at the University of Massachusetts, “We know that taking a break is extremely good for one’s mental health. Vacationing puts you in a different frame of mind, gets you out of your standard patterns, and can give you time with family.”
You want to get away for at least a day and overnight to make a vacation do the trick. Otherwise, you commonly feel like you are visiting someone or something and not relaxing. When done right, holidays provide a release from the day-to-day doldrums that are likely to make you feel slightly depressed or moody.
When we avoid vacationing, we become too inward and focus on ourselves. We focus on the microcosm that is around us constantly. Often leading to anxiety and can cause nervous tension and headaches. A simple change of scenery can do so much to improve these symptoms of stress.
When you pack an overnight bag or your weekender’s kit for a well-planned excursion, you are already reaping the rewards. Your body and mind are actively processing what your next moments will be like—and you can anticipate complete and sudden change. This is key to reducing stagnation in creative workers.
You also get a chance to stop waking up according to your alarm clock and having to do what you are told every day. You can eat when you want and for how long you want to eat. You can take a nap when you need to sleep. Ultimately, you get a chance to become "you" again as you recenter yourself.
Easy Ways to Take a Mini-Vacay
Going to a Vale ski resort or a tropical island for a week or two might sound like a dream come true. But the reality is, most of us cannot afford to shell out for big-ticket vacations. So what can you do? Unless you are fortunate enough to live next to a vacation hotspot, find somewhere local.
You can also go to a local restaurant that serves cuisines from countries you would love to visit, it is like tasting another culture. You might also try visiting an Asian grocery store or another seller of food from around the world. Stocking up on new products will transport you without expensive plane tickets.
Research rest areas and state parks, and look up local hiking trails and free fishing ponds. Take a mini-break by doing some of the things you would love to do on any vacation, just where you are right now.
Ways to Set Yourself Up for Post-Holiday
For so many adults, the week after a vacation undoes all the benefits of getting away. Will you return to an overflowing inbox or a backlog of projects? Will the office be a total disaster?
Set yourself up for a smooth return to work by planning. You might finish additional projects before leaving, or ask a coworker if you can have your emails forwarded to them in your absence. Besides, you might knock out some emails while traveling so you can unwind when you get to your destination. Do what you can to avoid coming back to extra stress after your getaway.
Cannot avoid a post-holiday backlog? Build a mini-vacation into your return time. Take some time, whether it is a weekend or an hour, before returning to work to enjoy some solitude, reflect on your break, and try to reclaim the sense of peace it gave you.
Holidays can be a tide changer, and knowing that you are in some way altering your state of mind is a powerful concept.
washingtonpost.com - What Does America Have Against Vacations?
time.com - Why Vacation is Good for Health and Happiness
hbr.org - Thinking of Skipping vacation? Don’t!
inc.com - 4 Scientific Reasons Vacations Are Good for Your Health
wavesoda.com - Discover the Link Between Gut Health and Mental Health
wavesoda.com - 5 Health Benefits of Solitude
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com - Holistic Ways to Help Anxiety
Article Written By: Dr Arturo Osorio