Busting Stress: How to Reap the Mental Benefits of Travel
When your mind is whirring from work pressures and you can’t seem to get into restorative relaxation mode; this is when you should take a vacation. Getting away is not only essential for your general well-being but especially beneficial for your mental health, experts say. Here are some guidelines as to how to best take advantage of the mental benefits of travel:
1) Stay On Top of Your Itinerary
Sometimes, you may set vacation goals for yourself to accomplish that directly stress you out. As a result, you enjoy the trip less. This may involve planning ambitious itineraries that are packed with activities, yet are too unrealistic to pull off. To eliminate this source of stress, be sure to keep your itinerary moderate and, at times, light, so you can cue Serendipity and savor your time more. Opting to take a refreshing stroll through the city during a break between activities, for example, may inspire you. Allow time in your trip for spontaneous decisions like these.
2) Set Realistic Goals
Excited about your time off, you may be tempted to try to embrace new health habits during this time that dramatically change your lifestyle. For instance, you may set an exercise goal of running six miles every afternoon, or losing over 15 pounds in a fortnight. While worthwhile goals, setting these kinds of ambitious goals can be more about work than about resting.
According to a 2013 Vacation Deprivation study conducted by Expedia, 10% of Americans felt they couldn’t relax during a vacation. Don’t fall into this minority group — really focus on alleviating your stress and relaxing. Set realistic goals for yourself that are more in harmony with a restorative vacation, such as eating more vegetables every time you dine, or riding a bike for a half hour every day.
Be kind and forgiving to yourself when you slip up — you are, after all, on vacation.
3) Eat Healthy Foods During Your Time Off
Many people view vacations as a chance to let loose and eat whatever they want, bathroom scale be damned. But choose to honor your health instead. Be considerate of your waistline, and eat healthy foods instead, lest you pay the full price when you return home. Still looking to treat yourself? Limit yourself to one sinful treat a day while sticking to a largely healthy diet. Subscribing to a temporary philosophy of balance, rather than a fully loosed belt, will help you stay healthy as you get a taste every now and then of the local cuisine.
4) Sleep Plenty
Since you don’t necessarily have to be anywhere at a certain time in the mornings, while on vacation, you can sleep until your body feels ready to wake up. Take advantage of your temporary laissez-faire schedule, and get as much sleep as possible. This will help rejuvenate your spirits while relaxing your body.
5) Schedule in Pure Relaxation Time
As mentioned above, when visiting a new place, you may be tempted to overschedule yourself with activities to do. Don’t succumb to this temptation. Relax your schedule instead by penning in some pure relaxation time, such as a hot tub session, a massage, a facial or a relaxing yoga class.
To ease your mind from home-related worries, before you set off on your vacation, take care to have double locked your apartment’s main doors, set the alarm, leave the TV on (to ward off burglars) and have a friend pick up the mail. These are measures you can take to make sure your home is safe while you’re away, so can enjoy your time off with minimal worries.
Our five tips on how best to reap the mental health benefits of going on vacation should enable you to set key relaxation priorities for your trip. Plenty of sleep, healthy eating and relaxing activities are vital to helping you pacify your mind. The goal is to come back to your daily routine with verve and a rejuvenated spirit, but accomplishing this means practicing the art of taking it easy. Relax, and realize that enjoying your vacation time slowly can be a more delicious way of drinking from the flowing cup of Life when on a pleasurable self-imposed exile from work.