Many of us either just got back or are getting ready to leave work or school for a week-long Spring break. During long vacations, we can sometimes load ourselves up with activities to utilize and take advantage of all that free time. This can lead to coming back from your vacation feeling more exhausted than rested and refreshed. Alternatively, some of us will do absolutely nothing during that long break in an attempt to take a breather from our normally hectic lives. This approach can sometimes make you feel lazy or unproductive despite maybe feeling more rested.
Vacations are all about balance: if you over-do it you risk returning feeling groggy, grumpy and unrested. You may feel resentful and unhappy to be back, like you didn’t get the break you were so looking forward to and needed. If you under-do it, however, you run the risk of feeling more overwhelmed later when you have lots of things to do that you could have done when you had all that free time, but didn’t.
If you are traveling or have a busy vacation planned, here are some things you can do help ensure that you come back feeling rested:
1. Take a moment to look around at your surroundings. Notice the pretty flowers, the beautiful sunset, the nicely manicured lawn. Become hyper aware of your surroundings and take a moment to reflect on how they make you feel. Is it nostalgic? Does it bring back happy memories? Does it make you feel happy?
2. Take a little “You” time each day. Sit in a bath in your hotel room or wander down to breakfast early while your partner and/or children are still asleep. Or, sleep in while your partner and the kids go out.
3. Take advantage of travel time. Read that book you never had time to read or write down your thoughts to help clear your head.
4. Do something spontaneous. Adhering to a rigidly planned schedule can cause stress and can lead to anxiety when things inevitably don’t go as planned. Try a new restaurant or stop by that museum you keep passing.
If you aren’t planning on going anywhere or doing anything during your vacation time, here are some things you can do to help you feel more productive:
1. Get some spring cleaning done. Clean out the closet, go through old clothes or other items and donate them. Sometimes getting rid of old things you never wear or use can be like a weight lifted off your shoulders.
2. Plant a new garden or tend an old one. Even if you don’t have a yard there are lots of great options for small, indoor herb gardens or vertical wall gardens.
3. Go for a walk or a run. Get out and get some sunshine and exercise. Nothing makes you feel more productive than getting out into the fresh air and soaking in some Vitamin D.
4. Call an old friend or family member. Use your free time to get back in touch with an old friend or call your extended family. Day-to-day routines don’t always allow for much time to sit down and catch up so this can be the perfect opportunity to do so.
Utilizing some of these simple tips can help you come back to work or school feeling refreshed as opposed to feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation.