We typically equate a vacation with discovery, relaxation and a break from the daily grind. In some cases, however, a vacation can actually be stressful. Such a vacation typically owes to poor planning – often, too much planning – or to the destination itself.
You may find yourself swallowed whole by a mob of other tourists and the hawkers trying to make money off of all of you. You may also find that you are in a particularly hectic urban environment that is loud and noisy with seemingly no points of refuge. If either scenario is true, you need to find ways to to relax and clear your head. Here are a few tips to do just that.
Get some fresh air
You don’t need to go to the countryside to breathe easier (although, that’s certainly an option). Grab a book and head to a park or other green space. Some people look at this and say “well, I can go to a park at home, why go to one here?” Parks are not the same everywhere. They often have their own attractions and include people-watching opportunities that are unique to the destination. But even if they were all the same, it’s not about seeing something new – it’s about chilling out!
Take a walk with no destination
It can be easy to fill your day with museum visits and must-eat-at restaurants, but you may be doing yourself a disservice. Overloading a day will exhaust you and you might not even enjoy the places you were so excited about visiting. Spend an afternoon with absolutely no agenda. Take a walk, get lost, and see what you find.
Sip a drink at a bar or cafe
The idea is not to get hammered (although, do that if you must), but rather to slow things down, sit, and observe. Turn your phone off, if you have one, and don’t bother looking at your watch. Just enjoy the drink, the view and perhaps your neighbors if you are up for a chat.
Go for a jog
Replace jog with bike ride, brisk walk or any other physical activity that will get your blood pumping. Exercise is a proven stress killer and there is no reason why you can’t do it while you are traveling. If you want to keep your packed schedule, wake up early and exercise before the madness kicks off. Or, do so in the evening when you need to unwind.
We’ve talked about this before. Whether it’s a sauna, a massage or a dip in a hot tub, there are plenty of options for pampering yourself on the road. It might be an unexpected expense, but in many cases, it’s worth it.
Find some entertainment
Go see a movie or visit an arcade. Attend a sporting event and let loose. Attend a concert and let loose. Regardless of whether such activities meet your “new culture” quota, your mental health will be better for it.
Stress doesn’t belong on a vacation (actually, it doesn’t belong anywhere, just look here), but it can wiggle its way in without us knowing. If things are feeling a bit too busy on your next trip, try putting one of the above tips into play.
This post is made possible by the Burswood Theatre in Australia. If you are traveling there and looking to blow off some steam, a great way to do so is to pop in and enjoy a movie.
Photo credit: Flickr user BritneyBush