When you hear the word “vacation”, what comes to mind? For most it means having fun, indulging or pampering themselves to some degree or simply relaxing and catching up on sleep. Most people consider it a time to unwind and recharge away from work and the stresses of life.
However, the reality for some is that they end up feeling even more stressed and exhausted than they did before they went on vacation. Now, how is this possible?
Vacationing the Wrong Way
A common misconception that people have with going on vacation is that they need to make the most out of their trip. They go on every tour they can squeeze in or research 101 places to visit while at their destination and then pack 98 of those suggestions in their itinerary. While making the most of your time away–especially when visiting exotic locations is important, most people over-pack their schedule and overwhelm themselves with busyness which results in more stress and less rest.
In today’s overexposed social media and ultra tech-culture, it is even easier to forget the true meaning of the word “vacation.” Technology and social media has over-promoted and normalized sharing every experience we have–especially while on vacation. The saying, “if you didn’t post about it, did it really happen?” drives our current culture to document and share EVERYTHING.
You Instagram all your meals, snap chat every moment of your time on every tour and check into every “it” spot within 100 miles so you have plenty to post on Facebook. In fact, you spend more time taking the perfect selfie at every stop than you do actually participating in the activity. You end up sacrificing the quality of the trip for the quantity of posts you get out of.
This flawed “vacation” mindset results in:
Packing too many activities into the trip
You have been wanting to visit Italy for the longest time and you have 2 weeks. You want to make the most out of your trip so you squeeze in every activity (that you have researched on blogs and travel sites) you possibly can. Your vacation days begin early in the morning and ends in the wee hours of the morning. So, you wake up early, go to sleep late and are walking or running around the entire day… And you wonder your body is physically exhausted?
Booking oddly timed flights
In order to maximize your time off of work, you book the first flight out which leaves at the crack of dawn and catch the very the last flight home, with only a couple hours to spare before heading to work the next day. You return to work an exhausted, frazzled and unproductive mess.
Failing to disconnect
During your vacation, you were constantly checking and responding to work emails or completing tasks. Not only are you ruining your vacation because you are not fully present and living in the moment but you are perpetuating the stress you were trying to escape!
The same is true if you spend copious amounts of time snap chatting, Facebooking or Instgramming–updating and showing off for all of your friends and followers– you, again, miss so many beautiful moments.
Picking the wrong kind of vacation
If you intentionally want to take a break to relax and recharge, then you should pick a place or an activity that does not require intense energy physically (such as hiking to Mount Everest Base Camp) or is mentally draining to plan which counteracts the unwinding process.
Instead, do something that you enjoy or travel to a destination that is tranquil and has minimal distractions.
Vacationing the right way
Learning to appreciate that vacation or holiday time is a chance to unwind and that you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with planning and trying to create the perfect vacation is the first key to having fun while still being refreshed.
It’s a great idea to enjoy the recommended hot spots, attractions, restaurants and activities, but understand and accept that there will be more activities than you have time for–don’t try to do it all.
Plan a vacation that provides you to be flexible. Eliminating the pressure of having to do it all will leave you feeling refreshed and motivated when it comes time to head back to work.
Keeping in mind the following will help you to better appreciate your vacation time:
Come home a day early
It’s always a good idea to give yourself one day to recoup before returning to work after a vacation. This allows your body and mind to adjust to being back home and get back into the groove of your work routine. Coming home at least a day before going back to work also allows you to settle in, unpack and do some catching up with work–checking emails–before going back into the office. This gives you room to breathe and reduces the anxiety and stress associated with the impending workload.
Take your time
The purpose of a vacation is to relax and enjoy yourself. So when you finally get to take that trip you’ve been looking forward to, take your time and work to be completely present during every experience. Accept the fact that there will always be more to see and do than you can possibly fit in your vacation. Relax and have fun.
Get Enough Sleep
Again, you want to go on vacation to recharge, so don’t over-crowd your schedule with late night and early morning activities. Make sure you rest and get plenty of sleep. It’s okay to schedule a lazy day during your vacation where you can sleep in and not be bound to an itinerary.
Don’t be too lazy
Just as it is critical to relax, your body also needs some activity to help you fight stress and to feel awake and alive. So don’t overdo it with the sleep and relaxing. Try to fit in the minimum recommended amount of daily exercise and if you don’t exercise take this as an opportunity to start a new habit. Start slow. This goes for sleeping, as well. Get the right amount of sleep for your body. Some people need eight or more hours of sleep per night, however, whatever is typical for you and leaves you feeling refreshed is the right amount of sleep for you. Too much sleep can actually backfire and leave you feeling lethargic, and foggy. As with everything, balance is key.
Relax and hang loose!
Everyone deserves a vacation or break every now and then to escape the day-to-day grind. It is crucial to ensure that the vacation you take does indeed serve its purpose of letting you feel relaxed and recharged again.
When you feel refreshed and motivated to head back to work, you can perform better and look forward to the next vacation!
Featured photo credit: Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash via unsplash.com