Nobody likes the feeling of going on vacation and coming back feeling like they need another vacation. In today’s world, the digital age, it’s becoming more and more difficult to really mentally switch off from our environments and ultimately our work in order to truly get the mental rest we need. We spend an average of 5 hours a day glued to our phone screens, constantly texting, being visually stimulated or stressed. When was the last time you felt like you had a true mental vacation?
For most people, a vacation or long term trip is really about resting most physical and mental, doing more of what we love and leaving work and the stresses of everyday behind, however things don’t always go that way. We are constantly being over-stimulated by our phones, and the people and situations around us but there are some things you can do to prepare that can help you mentally detox when on vacation, leaving you rested and ready for the next chapter. Here are my top tips for really switching off, enjoying and really getting that mental rest you need.
The trick for an amazing yet restful vacation is all about knowing yourself. What do you need in order to really switch off and get some mental rest? What really distracts you and makes you start thinking about work? How long does it normally take you to unwind and really switch off mentally? We are all different and our answers to the above questions are all going to be different. What’s important is knowing yourself and your answers to the above questions and allowing yourself or giving yourself the time and capacity you need to really unwind.
Make sure your trip is right for you
Before you book your trip it might help to think about what kind of trip or vacation really makes you happy and most importantly allows you to get the mental rest you need. Does a beach vacation bore you to a point that will have you reaching for your phone and checking work emails? Or perhaps road trips stress you out? I often find that really working out what kind of trip lets you relax the most, both physically and mentally is the most beneficial thing you can do prior to your vacation. The same goes for what to do during your vacation. Make sure you plan the right kind of trip that will keep you amused yet not bored. If you’re someone who constantly gets bored, make sure to plan activity into your vacation such as yoga classes, meditation, workouts, hiking and scuba diving etc. Not only are they fun and great for your body and soul, but such activities also take your mind off home and work and can really make you feel present and grounded. Equally, if you’re someone who prefers to not be active at all plan your trip with plenty of beach time, spa time and lots of healthy food and drink.
Surround yourself with the right people
The people we surround ourselves with have an immense impact on our mood and ability to rest both in life and on vacation. If you’ve got a friend that you find more stressful than relaxing it’s probably not a great idea to take them on vacation with you. Build friendships and relationships based on love and have a supportive circle of people around you that allows you to grow and thrive and who, when you need to, will also allow you to do what you need to unwind and completely switch off.
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Consider a digital detox
The age of social media, twenty-four-hour news and digital technology has bought its own few problems when it comes to having all the information we could want at our fingertips. To truly disconnect we might have to put a few more boundaries into place to really not be disturbed. Try putting your phone on aeroplane mode or turning off all notifications, especially work-related ones. Better still why not leave your phone in your hotel room for the day? You may feel completely naked at first but potentially quite liberated later on. Being completely attached to social media, I know just how liberating and relaxing it can be to shut off all social media for a while and I highly recommend it.
Plan for when you get back
There’s nothing worse to interrupt your mental rest than the constant thought of what awaits you at work when you get back. Before you leave for vacation make sure everything is done so you don’t have anything nagging at you in the back of your mind. On the other hand, in order not to deal with the anxiety of what might await you upon your return, give yourself time to get back into it. If you can, come back from vacation a couple of days early to prepare. Just knowing that you have those couple of days before going back to work has the ability to really put your mind at ease. Maybe just take a half-day on your first day back and ease yourself into it.
How do you mentally escape on vacation? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
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