One of the best things about vacations is the aspect of “getting away from it all”. Being in a new place gives you a chance to refresh, reconnect with yourself, and find joy in your day-to-day activities without focusing on work. For those who struggle with mental health (almost 50% of all Americans will meet the criteria for mental health issues at some point in their lives), a vacation can feel more like a chore than an adventure.
That leads to the question: How can you focus on your mental health while you’re on vacation?
Plan For Downtime
Along with figuring out where to stay, what to eat, and what to check out, plan for times throughout your vacation to allow yourself a break from your break. Scheduling times to be plan-less will let you take a moment to breathe & appreciate your own self, instead of focusing on what you’re doing or where you’re focusing on next.
Unplug (To the Best of Your Ability)
Technology can be on your wrist, in your pocket, or even in your wallet. We know how hard it is to truly unplug from your friends, family, and work (even when you’re supposed to not be checking emails at brunch)! Being roped into your notifications 24/7 can take a toll on you and your mental health. If you’re able to leave your device(s) at the hotel during dinner, a swim at the pool, or a relaxing bike ride around town, you’re helping more than just your battery. Take in the moment and be present, not tied to your screen.
Put Yourself First
If you’re a people-pleaser or the mom of your travel group, you’re typically thinking about what everyone wants to do on vacation all the time. While you’re superb at taking care of everyone else, you also have to remember to take care of you! Plan parts of your vacation that you know you’ll be excited about, without worrying if everyone else will enjoy the experience as much as you will.
Have Support In Place
No one knows you better than yourself, including what can stress you out on your next getaway. Making sure you have a stressor plan for those unexpected moments (like comforting music, a special perfume, or a favorite pair of pajamas) can alleviate the pre-stress for your stressors! Along with these comforts, keeping in contact with your family and friends, talking with your therapist or doctor, and keeping in tune with what your body and mind need are all great options for your support system.