Mental Health at Disney World
How to Plan a Mental Health Vacation
Vacations are essential for your overall well-being, but they can also benefit your mental health. If you have become overwhelmed by your obligations and you feel like you need a break, then you might want to plan a vacation to help rejuvenate your mental health. A big part of planning a mental health vacation is examining your needs and limitations for the vacation to determine what will provide you with the most benefit within your means. Then, you can start to think about vacation destinations, which can range from trips overseas to spending time in your own backyard. You may also want to consider some ways to maximize your mental health benefits from the vacation.
Maximizing Your Relaxation
Keep your itinerary under control.Sometimes the goals that you set for yourself on vacation can stress you out and cause you to enjoy the trip less. This may include things like punishing itineraries where you try to see and do more than is realistic in one day. To minimize this stress, make sure that you do not overload your itinerary.
- For example, you might set a goal to do one of the activities on your list each day, such as visit a world famous museum or take a trip to a local landmark. However, planning to do four or five of the things on your list in one day may be overwhelming, which could make the activities much less enjoyable.
Set realistic goals for yourself on vacation.You may end up stressing yourself out during your vacation if you start making plans to change your lifestyle dramatically. For example, if you try to set a goal of running five miles every morning or losing 20 pounds in two weeks, then you may find it hard to enjoy yourself.
- To decrease your stress and avoid feeling defeated after your vacation, make sure that you set realistic goals for yourself and allow yourself some wiggle room as well.
- For example, you might set a goal to eat a serving of vegetables with every meal while you are on vacation or to get 30 minutes of exercise every day, such as walking or riding a bike.
- However, be willing to give yourself a break if you slip. If you have an off day, try saying something like, “Oh well! I am on vacation!”
- Setting a goal to just sit or lie down and relax for 15 to 30 minutes per day is also a great goal.
.Many people use vacations as an excuse to eat whatever they want and this can lead to weight gain, which might lead to some negative emotions when you return home and step on the scale. Therefore, it might be a good idea to limit yourself to one indulgence per day and try to eat healthy for most of your meals on vacation.
- For example, you might decide to try a beignet for breakfast while visiting New Orleans, or enjoy a gelato for dessert while visiting Italy. You can enjoy these indulgences as long as you balance out these things with some healthy choices.
- However, remember that you are on vacation, so it is okay if you slip now and then. Try not to stress over how many calories you are consuming at every meal.
Sleep as much as possible.One of the great things about a vacation is that you do not have to worry about being up at a certain time every day. You can sleep until you wake up if you want to. Take advantage of this while you are on vacation and get as much sleep as possible. This will help you to feel more rejuvenated and relaxed.
- You might even allow yourself to take an afternoon nap each day during your vacation to get caught up on your sleep.
Schedule in plenty of time to just relax.To ensure that you feel rested when you return from your vacation, make sure that you set aside lots of time to just relax while you are away. Try to schedule in some relaxing activities during your vacation, such as:
- Taking a yoga class.
- Getting a massage or facial.
- Swimming or relaxing in a hot tub.
Maximizing Mental Health Benefits of Your Vacation
Treat planning the trip as part of the vacation.Planning a vacation can offer many of the same benefits of taking the vacation. Planning the trip can relax you, take your mind off of daily stressors, and help you find something to look forward to.
- It does not matter if you won’t be able to actually take the vacation for a while. Planning a vacation can be an enjoyable experience.
- Try setting aside a few hours one evening to plan your dream vacation, or even just to plan a short weekend getaway that you hope to take in the next few weeks.
Allow yourself to daydream about the trip.You may start to experience some of the mental health benefits of your trip in the days and weeks leading up to it. You may find that you are daydreaming about the trip and feeling more relaxed than usual. This is called a pre-vacation high.
- Try to make the most of your pre-vacation high by allowing yourself to daydream about the trip and get into vacation mode a day or two before you head off on your trip. This will maximize the mental health benefits of your trip.
Plan ahead to decrease your workload after you return.One of the things that can decrease the mental health benefits of a vacation is a heavy workload upon returning home. To avoid a sudden and dramatic rise in stress when you get back, try to find ways to decrease your workload when you return.
- For example, you might complete a few projects before you take off for your trip, or avoid scheduling anything too stressful for the first few days after you get back.
Choosing Where to Go
Explore exotic locations.Getting away to an exotic location might provide the most benefit to your mental health because it will allow you to gain a new perspective and experience new things. If you have a dream vacation, then now might be the time to plan and take it. For example, maybe you have always wanted to visit Paris, or you dream about spending a week on the beach in Jamaica. Whatever your dream vacation is, start looking into how you might take it.
- Identify activities you’d like to do ahead of time. Identifying what you want to do while visiting your dream vacation spot and creating an itinerary can help to reduce stress while you are there.
- Try looking into all-inclusive packages from travel agencies or on sites like Groupon. Sometimes booking these kinds of trips can save you money on expenses like airfare, food, and lodging.
- Shop around for airfares to your dream vacation spot. Some sites even allow you to set up alerts to let you know when the price has dropped.
Look into resorts.Resorts can offer you a stress-free vacation plan, which might be beneficial to your mental health if you are overwhelmed by the thought of planning a vacation. Many resorts are all-inclusive, so you do not have to worry about finding places to eat, activities to do, or hotel rooms. Everything is there in one location.
- Try looking into some special interest resorts. For example, some resorts focus on helping you relax and rejuvenate, while others might offer a program to help you lose weight and change poor eating habits.
- Keep in mind that all-inclusive resorts can be quite expensive. Look for resorts that are within your price range to minimize the stress of the vacation.
- If decide to stay at a resort, then you may want to plan at least one activity outside of the resort, preferably something you have never done before. This will help to maximize the mental health benefits of your vacation by forming some new connections in your brain.
Consider a weekend getaway to a nearby location.If you can’t take much time off of work and you don’t want to spend too much money, then you might look into a weekend getaway somewhere closer to home. You can spend a night or two in a nearby city or get away to a rural location if you want to escape the fast pace of city life. Vacationing close to home can offer you some of the same mental health benefits of going somewhere far away. You can see and do new things while getting a break from your normal routine.
- Look into nearby cities you have never explored before to find out what attractions they have. They might have some interesting museums, landmarks, or restaurants that you can check out. If you enjoy sports, then look into sporting events that are happening the weekend you plan on visiting.
- Check out nearby campsites if you want to escape to nature for the weekend. If you have your own camping gear, then you might reserve a campsite for the weekend at a national forest. Or, if you prefer to sleep indoors while you are enjoying nature, then you could book a cabin for the weekend or even rent an RV.
Enjoy a staycation.If you cannot leave town and you don’t have much money to spend on a vacation, then you can always plan a staycation. This is when you explore your own area as if you are a tourist visiting and enjoy time at home doing things that you rarely get to enjoy, such as a favorite hobby or lounging on the sofa. A major benefit of this type of vacation is that it will cost you little to nothing and you don’t have to worry about packing or traveling far away.
- For example, you could take a walking tour of the downtown area of your city, take a sunset cruise on a local lake or river, attend a local fair or festival, or visit the local historical society. Take your camera along and take some pictures to help you play the part of someone visiting the area on vacation.
- You can make staying home more like a hotel as well. Try putting out some “amenities” for yourself, such as a fuzzy robe and slippers, a candy bar, and some special toiletries. Take a luxurious bath and allow yourself to just lounge and enjoy yourself at home for the day. Watch movies, read a book, or listen to music.
Take a 15 minute vacation.If you cannot spare any time for a weekend staycation, then you might consider taking a 15 minute mini-vacation. There are lots of different ways that you can get into a vacation mindset without getting behind on your personal and professional obligations. Some options include:
- Spending your lunch break outside. Try going outside for your lunch break on a nice weather day and just enjoy the time. Go for a walk through a scenic part of town or find a picnic bench to sit and enjoy your lunch.
- Sipping an umbrella drink in your backyard. If you have very little time to spare, then you might consider taking 15 minutes in the evening to head outside with a lawn chair and a cocktail (or mocktail) and sip the drink while enjoying your surroundings.
- Meditating or doing some yoga. If you need to relax and take a break from your daily stressors, then doing 15 minutes of yoga or meditation can also help. Or, you can even just sit quietly, close your eyes and breathe deeply for 15 minutes.
- Try taking a 15 minute vacation every day. Set aside 15 minutes that is just for you and use it to do nothing but relax.
Examining Your Needs and Limitations
Identify what you want to take a break from.Vacations can provide many different benefits, from reducing work stress to offering a chance to connect with loved ones.You probably have some specific things that you would like a vacation from, such as work, household chores, or even certain people. Think about the things you would like to have a break from and try to identify what type of vacation would give you the best break from these stressors.
- For example, you might decide that you need to take a full week off of work to get a break from your professional obligations. Or, you might decide that a weekend getaway will be enough to refresh you from housework burnout. Or, perhaps you would benefit from a solo day trip to reconnect with yourself and get away from your personal obligations.
List what you want to do on your vacation.Sometimes identifying the things that you would most like to do on your vacation is a good way to start planning it and reduce the stress of making the trip at the same time.There are some special destinations that you need to go to experience certain things, but you may be able to engage in other activities anywhere you go.
- For example, if you want to sit on a beach and relax, then you will need to find a beach location. However, if you want to get a massage during your vacation, then you can go just about anywhere.
- Or, if it has always been your dream to be a yogi, then taking a vacation at a resort that offers lots of different yoga classes may be helpful. If you have always wanted to be a chef, then taking a cooking class during your vacation might be a good option.
Identify how much time you can take.Time can also limit your mental health vacation choices, especially since most people do not take all of their vacation days and some people are afraid to take them because they think they might lose their jobs.Therefore, many people do not get nearly enough time off. Consider your situation and identify what is realistic and healthy for you.
- For example, if you do not have any vacation time saved up from work, then you may need to stick with a weekend getaway. However, if you have several vacation days available, then you can take these all at once and leave the country for a week if you choose to do so.
- Think realistically about how much time you are willing and able to take for your mental health vacation.
Look at your budget for the vacation.Some vacations can be quite cost effective, while others can be incredibly expensive. Much of this depends on where you want to go and how long you want to spend there. Before you start planning your mental health vacation, identify how much money you have available for the trip.
- For example, if you have ,000 available for a vacation, then you can probably afford to take an international trip as long as you get a good deal on airfare and lodging and watch your spending. However, if you only have 0 to spend, then one or two nights out of town at a budget hotel is a more realistic vacation plan.
Video: Mental Vacation - Life Update
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