Doing Life Together

_beachAt this point in the school year, I find myself thinking, “I need a vacation!”As much as I love family, visiting relatives for holidays is not exactly a vacation.

The idea of sun, a beach and white sand makes me happy. And yet, I have 3 weeks left in untaken vacation time. Employees who take vacations are happier and more productive!

And wouldn’t you know, researchers have studied how best to take that vacation break in order to recharge, reduce stress and create those needed feelings of well-being.

So if you can’t take those 2 weeks to visit Italy this Spring, don’t despair. Or if you think, OK, it will have to be  a staycation this year, science can help!

Here are a few  guidelines:

1) First, anticipate that vacation. Plan, dream, think about it. Just the thought of the get away will boost you mood.

2) Where you go matters. I know people who visit the same places ever vacation. In part, because they have time shares in the area. Even if that is the case, shake it up with a different place to stay, new sites to visit. Novelty is good for the brain and vacations as well.

3) Longer doesn’t translate into better. Even a few days to get away and begin to unwind start the process of relaxation. Most of us know it takes about 2 days just to relax. The best length for a vacation is 8 to 9 days, so do your best to get in that range.

4) Vacation time is your time so take control of the time. Relax, don’t make deadlines, set the schedule to whatever you want to do. Get out there and have fun.

5) Disconnect. Yes you can survive without checking your phone every few minutes. If you are completely obsessed, schedule a short check time and then lose the contact. The idea is to fully engage in your surroundings and the people you meet. Even too much picture taking can lessen the impact of enjoying the actual scenery. This why I like cruises–no phones!

6) All is well that ends well. And begins well too. When a vacation starts with a bang and ends with a nice memory, it stays with you as a good time. For example, I remember the warm hotel greeting at the Cabo resort–the views, beautiful weather, etc. The beginning of the trip impressed a wonderful feeling into my brain. It was magical as I stood overlooking the Pacific waters, soft breezes hitting my face and the warmth of the sun on my body! After begin well, end with an equally powerful moment. I stood on that veranda one last time, soaked up the moment and the beauty. Breathed a sign of relief and turned to exit. Cabo remains one of my most relaxing times!

7) Coming back to reality requires an easing process. The first day back don’t try to catch up with everything missed. Take a walk, enjoy a little more relaxation time. Ease on down the road to regular routine again. It helps prolong the benefits of the break.

Ready to go? Start to plan! You know what to do!

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