Work is exhaustingly monotonous, which is why when you finally get to schedule a few days off, you want to make the of them. If you are like most American travelers, you pick a destination that is jam-packed with attractions and activities, and you schedule every minute of your trip to ensure you see, hear, feel, and taste as much as possible. Yet, by the end of your vacation, you are likely more fully drained than after a few months’ ceaseless work.
A vacation is supposed to relax and rejuvenate you — not tire you out. While it is important to experience your travels to the fullest, you should also devote time to resting your overstressed body and mind with a day off — amongst your other days off. Here’s how:
New destinations are packed with new experiences, and it is tempting to draft a detailed itinerary from sunrise to sunset. Actually, it isn’t entirely detrimental to create a schedule before you leave for vacation; knowing your activities in advance can help you feel calm and in-control while you travel.
However, while you are planning, you should make sure to leave a whole day completely empty of organized fun. A free day is beneficial for a number of reasons: It gives you a chance to slow down and truly rest, to assess your physical and mental strength, and to appreciate your time away from regular life. If nothing else, your free day can be an opportunity to do and see things you didn’t think of while you were researching from home — but hopefully at a slower, more relaxing pace.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Even though you are on vacation, you might still be wary of indulgent foods and drinks. After all, when you return to normal life, those calories you consumed don’t just dissolve away. However, what many dieters fail to realize is that cheat meals are actually supremely important for your bodily health. Excessive healthy eating can actually be dangerously restrictive on your body, causing it to respond in negative ways: with weight gain, hormonal changes, exhaustion, and worse.
Allowing yourself to cheat your diet could boost your metabolism, supply missing nutrients, and (perhaps most useful) diminish stress, making your body even stronger. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel guilty about ordering that gourmet burger and craft beer on your weekend away.
Focus on Experiences
During everyday life, you likely endure myriad worries at once — work deadlines, relationship strife, family drama, home disorder — and while you are on vacation, it can be difficult to put these worries away. In fact, your trip might even add to your stresses, as you focus on your activity timetables, budget, pictures, and more. Yet, allowing your energy to be zapped by incessant concerns is no way to have a restful and rejuvenating vacation.
Instead, every hour or so you should strive to remind yourself (and other worriers around you) to be present in the moment. As you race through your daily schedules, you should spend a few minutes every hour grounding your thoughts in the here-and-now: breathe, smile, give thanks, and notice the small pleasures around you. A mindful trip is a more gratifying one.
Take Time for You
When you travel with others, it is easy to abandon your own hopes and desires in favor of those of the group. Family vacations in particular usually neglect adult needs to ensure kids remain happy and healthy. Still, this trip is as much yours as it is your travel partners’, which means you shouldn’t be abashed to ask for some time to yourself.
Perhaps on your off-day, or else squeezed between other group-oriented plans, you should enjoy activities close to your heart. You might book some time at a spa, go for a solo hike, or do anything that will help you calm your thoughts, soothe your muscles, and relax. You-time doesn’t have to encompass the entire trip — but it can if you need it to.
Get to Sleep
More likely than not, you are already terribly sleep deprived. Sleep researchers explain that proper mental, physical, and emotional function requires between seven and nine hours of sleep, and more than 40 percent of Americans usually rest for fewer than six hours every night. Unfortunately, when you are on an exciting vacation, you will likely only increase your sleep debt by staying out late and waking up early. Worse, most people travel to gain experiences and retain memories of their adventures, but memories are only truly set during sleep. Thus, it is imperative for your body, mind, and soul to turn in early while you are away.