Ah, summer, the time of sun, fun and vacay. But while July and August may have meant long, relaxing days when you were a child, that isn’t so true now that you’re grown up...and have adult responsibilities.
Fortunately, there are ways to move yourself into a more relaxed frame of mind. Here are some of them.
Don’t Let Up on Basic Self-Care
Once you do go on that long-planned getaway, it can be tempting to indulge in a few days of sloth and dietary excess. But abandoning good habits, even for a few days, can leave you without the energy you need to enjoy your time off.
So make sure you still eat your veggies—that should be easy, given the abundance of fresh produce available this time of year—and stick with your fitness routine. And be especially mindful of your need to hydrate; even a minor fluid shortfall can cause fatigue, headaches and concentration difficulties. If you find yourself perspiring freely, replace electrolytes by adding a pinch of sea salt to your next glass of water.
Get Out Into Nature
Spending time among trees has been found to help ease stress and improve mood.† The Japanese even have a word for it: shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.
You don’t have to be a hardcore backwoods enthusiast to benefit, either. Go to a leafy park for a picnic and a leisurely walk, or find a wooded path that will allow you to get in some running, jogging or biking.
Plan Activities (But Don’t Overschedule)
If you have a few days off, it’s tempting to either leave all of your time open-ended...or to cram everything you could possibly want to do into all your available hours.
A better approach is to plan some activities that interest you—in the afternoons, perhaps, or in one or two long, fun-filled days—while leaving enough downtime to relax and revitalize.
Every state’s website has a page where you can find things to do, as do the sites for many cities. (You’d also be surprised at how much you can find on an app like Google Maps.) If you’re into hiking and camping, check with the National Park Service to find parks in the area you plan to visit.
In addition, keep a few alternative activities in your back pocket. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate or a museum you planned to visit is closed for renovations...and the last thing you need on vacation is the stress of having to fill unexpectedly open time.
Take Short Trips
Don’t have the time or money for one long trip? Try taking several shorter ones. Not only are three- or four-day weekends easier to plan and pay for, they also give you more breaks to look forward to.
One of those long weekends can be a staycation—find fun things to do in your own home area!
Socialize (Safely, Of Course)
Finally, life is getting back to almost normal. Many people have found the isolation of the past year quite stressful, and with good reason: Humans are social creatures, and having a robust social life has been linked to better health.†
So yes, spend time with your family and friends. Just be sure to follow current health guidelines, especially if not everyone you’ll be mingling with has yet been vaccinated.
Turn Off the Worry Machine
The worst way to spend a vacation is to plop your body down on a beach somewhere...while your mind is still stuck on the job.
You know that fretting won’t solve your problems, but simply thinking to yourself “not worrying, not worrying” doesn’t really work. A better option is to write your worries down and come up with ways you can address those issues when you get back.
Another good idea: Don’t look at your phone ten times an hour. You may even consider actually turning it off (gasp!), unless you need to check in on an elderly relative or have some other equally vital task. The world will manage without you for a while.
Just Say No (But Yes to Yourself)
One benefit of turning off your cell from time to time is that it teaches you to say no.
Your phone is simply another piece of tech. You are not, and human beings were not meant to be on call 24/7. Not constantly taking on new tasks can help protect you from burnout...and make you more effective at handling the assignments you already have.
Just as important as turning down excessive responsibilities is making time for yourself, especially for thinking about what you’d like to get out of life.
Is there something you always wanted to learn or achieve? A vacation is a perfect time to set some realistic goals, which can help you generate motivation for change. Stay away from thinking about things—a bigger house, a newer car—and instead focus on self-fulfillment.
Finding a renewed sense of purpose in life can help you come back to your everyday existence happier and reinvigorated.
†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.
The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
Like this article? You’ll love our weekly newsletter
sign up here!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.