Vacations Don’t Have to be Stressful: Make the Most of Your Time Off

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Vacations are supposed to be your time to relax and enjoy yourself and your family. But sometimes, vacations can cause just as much stress as they are supposed to relieve. Getting stuck in an airport for hours or days, finding out your hotel is not what you expected and having trouble negotiating foreign transport can all add to your anxiety on vacation. Here are some steps to reducing that stress and having a great time.

While you’re away, making sure your home is secure will go a long way toward keeping your stress levels low. Having a good home security system with electronic monitoring makes sure that you don’t spend your time worrying that someone might break in or that a mishap could occur. Your home monitoring system will alert immediately if there’s trouble, so you can spend your time enjoying your time away. You can also put your lights on timers, stop your mail and newspapers and ask a trusted neighbor to watch the home while you’re gone.

Planes, trains and automobiles

There are some stressors on vacation that you can’t avoid, such as delayed transportation. But you can prevent some stress by doing research and planning ahead. If you’re traveling to a foreign country, know in advance how to get around. Some places have excellent train and bus service that can get you just about anywhere safely and efficiently. Many of those places also have smartphone apps on which you can buy your tickets without having to speak to a ticket agent or figure out a ticket machine. Get the app in advance of your trip and try to study area maps before you go. Google maps can also help you navigate public transportation in most areas very well. Make sure you have data on your phone before you leave.

In some places, you’ll need to rent a car, and if you do, make sure you study how to drive in that country before you go. Most traffic signals are similar to our own, but they may be just different enough to confuse the heck out of you. Know the rules of the road before you leave.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, there isn’t much you can do except go with the flow. Work with the airline’s agent to get on the next flight out that you can, and ask them to provide you with accommodations. They may or may not oblige, but whatever happens, don’t let it ruin your mood. Enjoy the airport shops and restaurants, get some extra exercise walking the terminals, play a game and try to have fun. Always pack reading materials and music to listen to. This will ease the pain of waiting.

Once you’re there

Even in the most relaxing places, stress can creep its way in. When you’re lying on a beautiful beach, your mind can be back at the office, wondering if you got everything done before you left, if your co-workers will ignore your clients or if your boss is plotting your termination. But when you’re on vacation, there is very little you can do about this stuff, so the best thing to do is let it go. Practice mindfulness and take some time to meditate. It will help calm your mind and help you relax.

Most hotels have some sort of fitness center, so make use of it. Exercise is one of the fastest ways to relieve stress, so get moving. You may think you don’t need exercise on your vacation, but it’s the best way to feel your best. Or take a walk up and down the beach or through a city center. Take in the sights, sounds and smells, and make mental notes so you’ll remember it forever.

One of the best ways to make the best of your vacation is to just enjoy it. While you’re sitting in a Parisian cafe, remind yourself that you’re IN A PARISIAN CAFE! Think about how amazing it is that you’re in a new place, away from work and it’s fantastic!

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