Vacations are not supposed to be stressful. But unfortunately, sometimes, they become our worst nightmare. We may experience a flat tire without having a spare, our card is suddenly declined at a restaurant, or we realize we forgot to pack a swimsuit or jacket. Talk about trouble in paradise!
However, don’t worry – you can always reduce stress with the right preparation methods and attitude.
This is how to keep your sanity during a stressful vacation:
Be aware of your stress triggers
Identifying the elements that cause anxiety and stress can enable you to react better to them. For example, if your kids are known for throwing tantrums during travel time and kickstarting migraines, be ready to give them entertainment in the form of books or games as a distraction. There’s also the scenario of getting lost. If losing your sense of direction in a new city is a huge stress-inducer, familiarize yourself with a map of the area before heading out to enjoy your day. Alternatively, if you’re driving in a traffic-congested area and are about to lose your temper, avoid road rage and remember that getting to your destination safely is the most important thing.
Prepare everything beforehand
The main things that should always be prepared and ready-to-go before a trip are: luggage, itineraries, organizers, lodging accommodations, reservations, and a vehicle if you are driving to your destination. Specifically, track every item you brought on a list to ensure you won’t leave anything behind in the hotel, establish an itinerary to avoid wasting time wondering about what to do next, call ahead to make reservations at restaurants or events, and make sure your car gets a basic check-up at the auto-shop.
Find small ways to relax
Implement coping methods to help keep your stress down, even in small ways such as taking slow deep breaths, meditating, squeezing in a quick workout, or maintaining your composure in the face of frustrating events, such as missing a flight; they make the biggest difference. Even five minutes of allowing yourself to calm down clears your mind and prevents emotionally-driven decisions.
Make sure to eat three meals a day and sleep
Self-care and overall well-being should always be a priority, regardless if you’re at home or on a tropical island. First, eating refuels and sustain your energy. Choose to eat healthy for the majority of the trip, but allow yourself to indulge in moderation. Moreover, make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of sleep. Your body needs to rest to recover from the previous day’s activities and feel replenished in the morning.
Refrain from constantly checking social media and your phone
When you’re on vacation, focus on the present moment! Avoid constantly checking social media and your phone. They only act as a distraction. Give yourself limitations on opening notifications and stop feeling the need to update people back home. Social media feeds can suck you in with their infinite scroll feature, and loved ones and colleagues will understand why you would use an automatic response on email. Most importantly, you don’t want to look back on this vacation knowing you only experienced it from behind a screen.
Vacations are meant to be fun and enjoyable and a break from the busy schedule of work! You deserve to relax and enjoy all the time you have left. But hey – sometimes, things happen. Remember, while stress may be inevitable to experience during vacation, you can always change your perspective and attitude on the matter to completely turn the negative experience around.