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8 Ways To Prepare A Perfectly Stress-Free Vacation

8 Ways To Prepare A Perfectly Stress-Free Vacation

Having a stress-free vacation may seem like a long shot to you as there is usually something to worry about. Rest assured though, it’s not impossible – it can happen – and you can take the following easy steps to make the process and your time away as stress free as possible.

1. Don’t Check Work Email

This may seem like a simple idea, but in today’s working environment, work is intertwined with our lives and we never shut it off. When you are on a vacation, you are off the grid. Turn off the email notifications and set the work phone to voice mail. The world will not end with you gone for a few weeks.

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2. Don’t Make Yourself Too Reachable

Yes, you need to be available if your mother tries to reach you about a family emergency; however, you do not need all of your devices available in an instant so you can automatically respond. This is vacation. Turn off notifications for work, social media, and apps, and maybe even turn off your phone. As I said before, the world is not going to end, and if you are away from home something can probably wait at least a few hours until you check your messages again.

3. Pack Lightly

I used to be someone who overpacked and used only half of what was in my luggage. Now I have found vacations to be stress free by packing light – usually just taking a 21-inch carry-on bag for three weeks or more. You have plenty of resources wherever you are traveling to pick up necessities that you may have forgotten. So don’t think that you have to take your entire closet with you.

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4. Don’t Plan Every Minute of Your Trip

Learn to go with the flow. We all have ideas of what we want to see and do at a location, but planning every single event down to the minute keeps you worrying about the time instead of enjoying what is right in front of you. Take a moment and relax knowing that you will see what you have time for and that shoving everything into one itemized, minute-by-minute itinerary is just going to put more stress on your supposed stress-free vacation.

5. Ask Locals for Recommendations

Want to know where to eat? Ask a local. Want to know about the best sunset views in the city? Ask a local. Locals are the ones who live in the city. They have been here longer than you. Maybe you should bypass the overrated tourist trap restaurant and opt for the family-run, five-star restaurant that is a few streets away.

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6. Let Go

If something does not go exactly as planned, just let it go. Don’t fret and let one small thing ruin an entire vacation. This just creates added stress. Learn to go with the flow on vacation and be present. Enjoy the moment and most of all relax because that’s what vacations are about.

7. Don’t Stress About Your House

So, you’ve planned a vacation and are all packed and ready to leave. Suddenly, you realize your house is now in disarray and that you should stay up until 4 a.m. cleaning just to make sure it is spotless for when you come home in 10 days. Right? Wrong. Let it go. If you do not get any sleep before your trip, are you going to be ready for a full day of vacation the next morning? Probably not. You’ll want to sleep, or you’ll be cranky. The house cleaning can wait. The other small things can wait until you come back too. If it’s not necessary, don’t get yourself in a tizzy trying to be superman or superwoman attempting to do it all. When you come home, you can get it all finished, but don’t think about that until you are home and not on vacation anymore.

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8. Relax

If you have gotten this hint yet, relax. In order to have a stress-free vacation, you have to relax. Let go of what you can’t control and go with the flow. Enjoy your trip and keep the stress levels low by having an open mind, disconnecting, and not fretting over the small things.

A stress-free vacation is possible. Just relax, go with the flow, and have fun.

Featured photo credit: M Ezzeddine via flickr.com

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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