It’s the summertime and you know what that means? Vacation time! If you haven’t already taken some time off I hope you plan to at some point this summer. Taking vacations are important to our mental and physical health and studies have shown that vacations can reduce stress, increase productivity at work, prevent heart disease, and allows the opportunity for better sleep. It also presents a time for you to practice mindfulness as discussed in the last podcast (Episode 1). Listen to the podcast to here more about my thoughts on vacations and how they can affect your mental health positively and negatively. Here are five tips to help you maximize your mental health while on vacation:
1. Social Media Detox-use this time to stay off of social media and truly be present mentally on your vacation. It can be stressful in itself trying to take pictures, record those perfect moments, and think of those catchy captions. At least limit your posting and scrolling to twice a day if you can’t cut it out completely.
2. Minimize electronic usage-phones, computers, and tablets should ideally be left behind but if it’s not possible, try every effort to engage in the activities and with others you are spending your vacation with. If it helps for you to turn internet off so you aren’t tempted try that as well. I know you may not think you can survive without the internet but trust me you can and you will thank me later after you try it. Electronics also negatively impact our sleep so when you are on vacation try to sleep with your phones in another room and put them on silent. Nobody should be contacting you anyway right?
3. Catch up on sleep- vacation is a perfect time for you to get the rest you need to improve your sleep quality so you will feel refreshed upon your return to work. It also won’t hurt for you to schedule nap time in your vacation itinerary. Sleep helps to decrease irritability which will make your vacation a whole lot more enjoyable.
4. Get in touch with nature-unless you work outside most of us never truly enjoy the wonders and peace of Mother Nature. Take walks, appreciate the scenery, practice mindfulness by sitting and using your five senses to become aware of your surroundings. Take in every little detail about your location and bask in the beauty of it all.
5. Resist the urge to spend money or excessive amounts- you do not have to spend a lot of money (or any at all) to enjoy yourself on vacation. Minimal spending helps save you stress later on down the line when you realize that money on that expensive meal could have been used for something else. Save money in advance and plan activities and meals accordingly for your trip and stick to using that money only. Be disciplined enough to not use undesignated funds. Leave credit cards at home if this is difficult for you.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy your vacation even more so than your last! Tell me what are you doing for your vacation? Comment below! Also if you are participating in this week’s TCC challenge comment below how that was for you. Listen to this week’s Episode 2: Mental Vacay podcast to find out what this week’s challenge is. Happy Vacationing!