Take The Stress Out of Vacations

Karen McNew McGuire's picture
By Karen McNew McGuire on June 5, 2017

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. Our Carilion Clinic Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine team shared their 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 unscheduled blocks of time that people can use as they choose. Some may sleep, some may read and some may use the time 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.  

While it seems counterintuitive 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. So if it makes vacationing easier for you, consider taking a small amount of work along.

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. Sometimes parents are very bothered when their children use their digital devices 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.