Posted on by Paula Gallagher
According to the 11th annual Vacation Confidence Index released by Allianz Global Assistance, over a third (36%) of Americans took their last vacation more than 2 years ago, and just over half (51%) have not vacationed in more than a year. Some of the reasons that vacations weren’t taken were financial, other reasons included not being able to take time off work. And of those that did “vacation,” many did not stop working.
This is unfortunate, because they may be missing out on some really important benefits, including:
- Decreased stress and better ability to cope with stressful situations
- Reduced cardiovascular disease risk
- Boosted family cohesion and communication (for vacationing families)
- Increased health and well-being and quality of life, generally
Although one vacation won’t make us happier forever, it is important to “escape” from work once in a while. Research suggests that even the anticipation of having a vacation planned can increase our happiness.
Vacations can look different to everybody. Not everybody needs, wants or can afford a tropical vacation. Try these different ideas for vacations and reap the benefits of letting go of work for even a little while.
So, imagine yourself completely unplugged from all technology – no phone, no email, no social media.
How does that feel? For most of us, it would be a strange and uncomfortable feeling. Our lives have become so intertwined with technology that we can't imagine going even a day without it. However, unplugging from technology gives us an opportunity to reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings. We're normally surrounded by so much noise and activity that our minds are constantly buzzing. When we unplug, we have the opportunity to slow down and focus on the present moment. We can appreciate what is around us without being distracted by emails or Facebook notifications. It also gives us a chance to connect with other people.
Unplugging from technology can also be good for our brains. Studies have shown that spending too much time on screens can actually be bad for our mental health – iit can lead to anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Although every vacation should be an unplugged vacation, just starting with one screen-free weekend can be good for you.
When is the last time you spent time exploring in your own town or city? Sometimes, you miss what is right in front of you. You can be a tourist in your own city – visit restaurants you’ve always wanted to try, linger in museums and art galleries, go to the theater, attend summer concerts, and enjoy the outdoors. Check out this list that gives some great ideas about staycations in every state.
Can’t get away? Give yourself a mental break with these tips that you can even implement at work.
Unplug after work
Employees who stay connected after work face greater stress and reduced concentration.
Go for a brisk walk
Fresh air and exercise can help clear your head and reduce stress.
Meditation doesn’t need to take a long time. Take one minute to practice some deep breathing, visualize something positive, count your breaths, or recite a calming mantra.
Give yourself a massage
Self-massage can be a quick, easy, inexpensive, and effective stress-relief technique. For tired eyes, gently massage the area around the eye socket; for headaches, massage the neck and forehead; and for sore wrists and hands, circle your wrists and massage your fingers and palms.
Eat lunch outside
Now that the weather is getting nicer, why not gather some co-workers and go outside.
Chew a piece of gum
Research has shown that chewing gum can help calm us down in moments of stress, boosting our mood, improving our performance, and reducing our cortisol levels.
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