Take a Break From Stress: Why We Need Vacations
Picture a perfect vacation. Are you too stressed at work to make this a reality? Try these tips to take time off and escape from the rat race.
Close your eyes and imagine the perfect vacation. Maybe you’re sitting on a beach by a palm tree, sinking your toes into the warm, white sand. Maybe you’re seeing the sites in a city you’ve always longed to visit. Or perhaps you’re just sitting on your own front porch, drinking a glass of lemonade and reading a good book.
Vacations can rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. They can relieve stress and give your body a rest. They also give you the time to slow down, stop and smell the roses.
Stress at work
Are you working so hard that it’s affecting your physical health? According to the American Psychological Association, three fourths of those who responded to a poll have physical symptoms from stress. They include:
- Stomach upset
- Loss of motivation
Half of those polled said they don’t take their allotted vacation time because they are too busy at work. This type of stress can lead to long-term health problems, as well as smoking, alcohol abuse and overeating.
Slowing down the pace
You may want to take a day off here and there, or block out a whole week or two of vacation time. If you have kids, maybe you’ve been saving for years to take them to an amusement park – and you finally have the funds. But if finances keep you from taking an expensive trip, there are still lots of fun ways to spend time together. Visit a water or wildlife park, have a backyard barbecue or go swimming in the nearest pool. If it’s winter, try a day of sledding or skating.
The same is true for singles and couples. If you’ve saved enough for that cruise or island getaway, why not do it now? If you’re not traveling, treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant or get fancy take-out for an elegant picnic. Go to a show or take a day trip to a nearby resort.
Set rules for yourself – and don’t break them.
- Staying home? Promise yourself you’ll avoid unnecessary housework while you’re off. If you’re tripping over the laundry and can’t find anything to wear, throw a load in the washer. But if there’s dust on the coffee table, let it wait a week.
- Turn off your cell phone. Unless your job requires you to check in, let the voicemail take your calls and wait to check your e-mail. Enjoy the peaceful sound of your phone not ringing.
- Get lots of activity. Want to take a vacation from your regular exercise routine? Go ahead! Replace it with a more enjoyable activity. Walk through the zoo with your kids or go for a swim. If it’s winter, plan a ski trip.
- Avoid stress. If you’re staying home, try putting the dog in the kennel and sending the kids to a sleep-over. Spend your day doing whatever makes you happy – and enjoying the peace and quiet.
- Try something new. Have you always wanted to learn to play tennis, go rock climbing or spend a day being pampered at a spa? Give yourself a mental pick-me-up by doing something special you’ve never made time for.
Taking care of yourself
When you take that nap on the beach, do it without guilt. Just remember to stay in the shade. Keep yourself healthy by eating right, applying sunscreen and drinking plenty of fluids. Getting enough sleep is also important. Don’t waste any vacation days by getting sick.