How Vacation Can Boost Your Mental Health

Taking time away from your daily routine can be a great way to de-stress your mind and body and come back re-energized and much more motivated. You just have to be certain to really disconnect and relax while you are there.

Many Americans are not taking their allotted vacation days. In 2010, people took an average of three weeks vacation. In 2017, they took two, and 60% reported still working remotely while they were away.

The benefits are clear to see, you step out of your day to day routines and spend quality time with your family on vacation. It helps you to really hit refresh. If you are in a demanding or creative career, taking a real vacation, mentally and physically, can help you overcome creative block or burnout by getting away from your daily drudgery. Putting all your work down can help you gain better perspective on it. Many travelers come back with much more energy.

The way you vacation definitely matters, though. The vacation has to be well-planned to truly optimize your relaxation. A poorly planned vacation can be very stressful. Plan your logistics well, and consider your safety and comfort. Leave plenty of time to make connection flights and don’t make yourself have to get up at 3am to catch a flight. Consider details like where you will park and eat. Pack ahead and make a list to make sure you have everything you will need, but not too much stuff to drag around.

Depending on your personal preferences, plan alone time if you need it, or group activities if you feel that will be helpful. Introverts can benefit from taking a vacation alone and not talking to anyone for two whole days, while extroverts may go crazy doing the same thing. You can also have a combination of both. Alone time relaxing during the day, and a family dinner and activity in the evening. Respect your travel buddies needs. If they want to sit by the pool all day, let them. You can go on a separate adventure. Make sure everyone is relaxing.

Try to find a way that you can leave your work behind and focus on the moment. Create an automatic response e-mail to let people know you are away. If you can’t put away your computer just like that, you can set only 30 minutes or an hour aside in the morning to be able to check your e-mails and make sure your office or home office did not have a disaster. Then, you can plan to relax for the rest of the day. Focus on something that will make you present. Take lots of pictures so you can remember the trip. Looking back will bring you fond memories.

Turn lemons into lemonade. Traveling can come with its challenges sometimes. Try to turn them into jokes and not let it ruin your time.

The art of taking a vacation is worth mastering. Done correctly, it is a great way to de-stress and reset, allowing you to come back much more effective than before. Don’t overwork and exhaust yourself. If you have vacation days, take full advantage of every single one, and never let them expire. You will be doing your co-workers and family a favor by making sure that you come back happy, motivated and at peak-performance energy levels.

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