How to consciously relax and unwind on your next vacation


-By Henry Moore

Our society glorifies the word “busy.” We’re told we can’t get ahead in life (or business) unless we “hustle.” It’s no wonder that people are feeling overworked and more stressed out than ever. As jobs become more stressful and work-life balance is increasingly skewed, more workers feel the need of a vacation.

Of course, just convincing your boss to let you have those days off is only part of the solution. You’ll also need to take steps to ensure you’re not putting out work-related fires or dealing with unexpected issues back home during your vacation.

Originally stemming from the Latin word “vacare” – which means “to be unoccupied” – modern vacations are “a time for physical, mental and spiritual self-improvement,” says NPR’s Robert Siegel, “not to mention sheer entertainment.”

If you’re in need of a stress-free vacation, here’s how to ensure you reap all the mental benefits of your time off: 

Get centred

When you travel, you have a golden opportunity to experience things you’d never have a chance to do back home. For those looking to calm their minds, this might include trying different styles of yoga or meditation in different parts of the world.

Travelling somewhere tropical? Take a yoga class by the sea. Travelling to a big city? See if they offer any yoga sunrise classes on the rooftop of a skyscraper. Want to completely pamper yourself for a week? Consider an affordable yoga retreat (preferably in a location that also offers other forms of self-care, such as massage therapy).

For thousands of years, people have been using yoga and meditation to reduce stress and negative emotions. With just a few minutes per day, you can clear your mind, boost your mental and emotional health, and feel revitalised.

Get unplugged

Although you’ll want to be available for emergencies, this doesn’t mean you can’t unplug from technology during your vacation. Leave your computer at home and put your phone into airplane mode to resist the urge to check emails, texts, and social media. If needed, you can take your phone out of airplane mode a few times per day to see if you have any missed calls or voice mails. (Unless there’s an emergency, remember to put your phone back into airplane mode afterwards.) 

Get your work done

The last thing you want to worry about is work while you’re on vacation. Try to complete assignments for any big deadlines before you leave. If possible, delegate any remaining items to a coworker while you’re gone. Add a temporary “out of office” message to your email client to let people know 1) when you’ll return and 2) who to contact in case of an emergency while you’re gone.

Get help at home

You should also make sure your home will be taken care of while you’re away. If you have pets, hire a pet sitter or professional dog walker. Unplug unnecessary appliances to prevent fires.

To avoid unexpected emergency situations, you’ll want to take extra precautions to prevent burglaries before leaving. This will be one less thing you’ll have to worry about while you’re away. See if a trusted friend can house sit for you or, at the very least, stop by and check the mail a couple times. Just be sure to give them a copy of your house key rather than hiding a key outside the home; unfortunately, burglars often look for keys in popular hiding spots around the home exterior.

Again, remember not to overshare on social media; this is one of the easiest ways that potential burglars can find out you’re away from home for an extended period. (Besides, as discussed above, it’s best to unplug while you’re on vacation.)

In today’s overly stressful society, it can be difficult to maintain work-life balance. Although vacations require a bit of planning, they can be an excellent way to unplug, unwind, and bring your mind and emotions back to a calmer state. Treating yourself to a getaway is a form of self-care that helps you create a happier, healthier, and more conscious lifestyle.


About the author: Henry Moore is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favourite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. He believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you.

Photo courtesy: Jared Rice