Vacations are supposed to be a time when we take a break from work and other aspects of our daily life. But do they make us happier? Researchers from the Netherlands conducted a study and their conclusion was the following: yes, vacations do make you happier but, unfortunately, only for a short period of time. Unsurprisingly, one of the main reasons for this is that vacationers tend to either worry about work or about the amount of work waiting for them upon their return to work.
How many people reading this article have done the same thing while on vacation? Is it possible to remain stress-free while away from home? Not entirely. But a few tips can eliminate some of that stress from the time you leave to when you return.
First, be sure to make plans as far in advance as you can. This may seem self-explanatory, but time and time again people procrastinate to the last second, which increases stress and can result in disaster. Be flexible with your itineraries. If you are too close-minded, you may find yourself unsatisfied with all options and the vacation may never materialize at all. Discuss which kinds of activities you and your travel companions enjoy, including those you can do together and those you may want to do apart. Don't book ALL of your time, but keep in mind that some structure to your time is a good idea.
Make a list of items that you need to take on your trip. Packing light is a must, so be realistic. Do you really need five pairs of shoes? Pack only items you know you will need, as opposed to what you think you will need. Spend a little more time researching where medical care is available in your intended destination. In addition, be sure to pack an emergency kit. If you, your spouse, or your children take any medication, be sure to set reminders of some kind so you/they don't miss a dose. Keep a short medical file for all family members with the following information: medications, physician name and number, emergency contact name and number, and any allergies they may have.
If at all possible, set yourself up to be work-free. Can you appoint someone to keep you updated on what is going on in the workplace while you are away? This will prevent you from being blindsided by problems upon your return. Where possible, task a co-worker to handle some of your job duties until you get back. Remember, the last thing you want to be doing while on vacation is worrying about work.
Don't forget to consider your home. Do not post on social media that you are going on a trip and will be away for an extended period of time. Wait until you return to post photos on social media. Broadcasting the fact that your home is sitting empty for an extended period of time is an invitation to would-be thieves. Have a neighbor keep an eye on your house and collect mail, packages, and any newspapers (You can also opt to stop mail and newspaper deliveries). You might also call your local police department and inform them you will be going away. They can make sure someone checks on your property.
Don't forget to make a plan for your pets! Knowing your pets are safe and well cared for will make a big difference while you are away.
Remember... don’t sweat the small stuff. Have fun! Try something new! And most of all, remember that a vacation should relax, inspire, and renew. With some advance planning, you can set yourself up for a good time!
Health and Wellness Director