How to make your vacation a stress free retreat

Creating a spiritual retreat on any getaway

make your vacation a stress free retreat, wearing Stelari Yoga Mat Towel

Work hard and play hard. While it sounds good, are we doing it? Austria gives their workers the most time off with a legal minimum of 22 paid vacation days and 13 paid holidays each year. That’s 35 paid days off – to getaway, relax and renew! Then there’s the average private sector U.S. worker who receives 16 paid vacation days and holidays, and that's not to mention that one in four Americans does not have a single paid day off at all.

Two weeks out of the year’s 52 doesn’t seem like a lot. The combination of working more and with less time to relax is causing more stress and dis-ease. It is no wonder that more than 80% of Americans are stressed at work. We need a vacation!

When it comes time to take the needed relaxing getaway, we often cut ourselves short of the pleasure. Either we worry about the amount of work we will come back to or we don’t know how to unwind and fully retreat when we're away.

Try these 3 tips to make your next vacation the most relaxing and rewarding one yet:


Prepare for your journey

As soon as your vacation is set (tickets are purchased and days off are granted), make three lists to get organized:

  1. List of essentials needed for the trip. Do you need to renew your passport? Get certain vaccinations? Be sure to list the items that are not typically packed but are needed for your special trip - like bug spray, head lamp, rain gear, yoga towel, or snorkel. Writing down what you need keeps you organized as you check items off without having to remember everything.
  2. List of projects to complete before you leave – whether around the house or at work. Make sure this is a short, tangible and realistic list. This will set your mind at ease that you completed priority projects before your departure. It will also keep you focused before your trip instead of daydreaming about your time off.
  3. List out the feelings you want out of your vacation. Start with “On my vacation, I feel…” then write down those emotions or moods - exhilarated, peaceful, adventurous, calm, hopeful, etc. Put this list some place where you will see it daily to give you a dose of excitement and motivation.


Go with the flow

Once you’re on your way, give yourself permission to settle in. Often it takes 2-3 days off to fully disconnect. Don’t waste that time. Instead, be proactivity peaceful with these tricks:

  • Keep your phone on airplane mode to prevent text and email alerts. You can still listen to your favorite music and podcasts.
  • Schedule a daily nap. Most adults don’t have time or take the time for a nap. Because you made the 30-minute slumber part of your itinerary, you can catch up on some rest without stressing that you’re missing out on something else.
  • Make obstacles part of the adventure. If your flight gets delayed or your excursion is rained out, let that be part of the fun. Imagine your entire vacation was caught on camera to show your friends when you got back. Wouldn’t you want your reactions and experiences to be calm and pleasant rather than stressed and ranting? If there's nothing you can do about the situation, then there's no reason to come undone. This is your relaxing vacation -- let nothing spoil it.
  • Meditate each morning. By setting aside time each day to soak in your experience in silence, you provide your body and mind the capacity to welcome in more of the emotions and moods you listed above.
  • Keep your desire list with you. This will help you navigate decisions you may have along the way. For example, if your emotion goals were to be calm and serene, then say no to the activity that causes anxiety and choose the activity that fosters the feelings you want. Don't let FOMO override your path.

This is your relaxing vacation -- let nothing spoil it.

Get back grateful

As you pack up to head home, do so with mindfulness. Journal the highlights of your getaway, how you feel and any thoughts you had while away. Try not to rush or be overwhelmed while traveling home. You were given this time off, so be sure to be grateful for the experience. Instead of thinking "Ugh, I have to go back to work", try saying "I’m excited to take on a new day!" 

Creativity is often stirred when we take a break from the daily minutiae. Bring these observations back with you and instill them into your “real life”. Too many times we need a vacation from our vacation. By following these tips, you will experience a spiritual getaway and more productive work days when you return. 

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