Is a 60-hour work week more the norm than an exception for you? Do you find yourself checking work emails at your kid’s school recital? Are you often in the office on Saturdays? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you need a vacation. As a super busy employee, you spend a lot of time under stress and that takes a real toll on your physical and mental health. Every now and then it’s important to get away from the daily grind for a while. Your long-term health is at stake.
Some people try to take a day off here and there, or maybe go somewhere for a long weekend. It’s better than nothing, but in the long run it can’t give you the kind of rest that your brain and body really need. Vacations are different. They involve you mind completely and allow you to engage in relaxing physical activity that a day in your armchair or cleaning the gutters just can’t.
Make It Your Own
Give your vacation some thought. What kind of experience do you want? Where do you want to spend it? What can you expect when you get there? What can you do there, and what can’t you do? Don’t just opt for a week on the beach if you’re not really into sun, surf and sand. If you’re sensitive to the sun and burn easily it’s probably not for you. Remember, your vacation should be about getting away and shedding stress. If you try to fit yourself to the trip rather than vice versa, you’ll probably return to work as tense as when you left.
If you enjoy reading or doing genealogy, you might consider vacationing near a major research center, such as the Library of Congress or National Archives. Are you an oenophile? What about a vacation to wine country in California where you can learn more about the winemaking process? Arranging a trip around your hobby or some unique interest can take you on a great vacation, one you’ll always remember. You never know – it could change your life.
Enjoy The Trip
It’s hard to relax on vacation if getting there stresses you out. Choose the most convenient, most enjoyable and least expensive means of getting to your vacation destination. That could mean airline travel, though flying can be prohibitively expensive. Driving might make the most sense for you, particularly if the whole family’s going. If you’re headed to a large city, railroad travel can be a romantic and travel-friendly option.
Keep It Intimate
Going on vacation with an extensive group of family and/or friends might be fun for a few days, but things can get tense pretty quickly. Bear in mind that relaxing means not having to worry about whether your spouse’s second cousin is having a good time, or refereeing an argument over what kind of hotel you should book. If you can’t restrict it to you, your spouse and the kids, make sure you’ll be traveling with people you know very well and trust completely. Few things are worse than a vacation ruined by petty bickering.
Try Something New This Time
Bet you never associated vacation with a chance for personal growth. Try something new next time, something you’ve always wanted to do but always held back on doing and you might be surprised at what you’re capable of. If you’re vacationing at or near the ocean, take the opportunity to learn how to sail a boat. Planning a wilderness vacation? Try scaling a cliff, or go hunting.
Safe At Home
Your relaxing vacation can quickly become a nail-bitingly anxious excursion if you’re worried about whether your home is safe. Fortunately, you can take precautionary measures before you leave. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on things and pick up your mail while you’re gone. Consider keeping a couple of lights on a timer to make it look like someone’s home. This might be the time to consider investing in a home security system, one that alerts the police if there’s a break-in, or install an app on your phone that allows you to keep an eye on things no matter where you travel.
Henry is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. He believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you.