Even though I love my job, I also love to get away and go on vacation. I tend to plan several mini vacations throughout the year so I can make sure to get a regular break from the day-to-day routine that is life. During the winter, my husband and I go on a couple mini ski vacations and in the warmer months we will hit the beach. But vacation is not only fun, it can actually benefit your health.
Taking a break and getting away from it all can help reduce stress, fight depression and increase your productivity once you get back to the grind. Thomas Milam, M.D., a Carilion Clinic psychiatrist, shares his top three tips to make sure that you get the most out of your vacation physically and mentally:
Tip #1: Plan up time and down time.
"It's important to plan not just for outings and activities, but also to plan down time," he said. “People use down time differently, some to sleep, some to read, some to veg and some to arrange more activities. This is particularly important if you are going with other couples or other families who may have a very different definition of downtime."
Tip #2: It's okay to take some work with you.
"Consider taking a small amount of work with you,” said Dr. Milam. “While that seems counter intuitive to the meaning of a vacation, the degree of stress people have upon returning from vacations and going back to work can be somewhat mitigated by getting even small, organizational projects completed during a vacation."
Tip #3: Avoid screen-envy and screen rage.
"Have a serious conversation with everyone going on vacation with you about what is acceptable screen time,” said Dr. Milam. “Sometimes parents are very bothered when their children stay on their screen (cell phone, iPad, tablet) excessively, but for a child this might be a form of relaxation and downtime. Set reasonable limits on how much screen time and television is allowed for both children and parents before you even pack your bags.”
No matter where you are going or how you are getting there, I hope your trip is safe, fantastic and relaxing.