It happens faster than you think: After a few stressful months in everyday life, you finally travel to your well-deserved vacation to take a break. But as soon as you arrive, your thoughts spin in circles, you get restless and all you can focus on are the to-dos left behind that are waiting at home. In the end, little is left of the vacation, because as soon as you finally relax, you have to go back home.
To be able to switch off on vacation is not so easy! That's why we've put together a few tips and tricks for you today on how you can give yourself and your cells the well-deserved time out that is necessary to exploit the full potential of relaxation. Not only is the feel-good factor increased by a good vacation - our brain cells in the hippocampus (an area of our brain that is particularly important for our memory performance) also grow again when we allow ourselves a break from everyday stress.
That's because when we give our gray matter a break from our stress hormones, they can recover and re-energize! As a little bonus, they also send out additional happiness hormones. Meaning? When we take a vacation, our brain takes a vacation, too. Here's how it works:
1. start in everyday life
This is easier said than done, but the first step for more balance on vacation, is not to do on site, but already at home! Because if our everyday life is already so stressful that we have to go away to get some rest, then the problem is probably our routine at home. Therefore, it is advisable to start with relaxation not only on vacation, but already in our everyday life. How much do you burden yourself with every day, which brings you permanent stress and tension? Do you sometimes catch yourself rushing from activity to activity without a break and time for yourself?
If you're already running at full speed in your daily life, it's probably no surprise that your head continues to work at the same pace once you're gone. Therefore our tip: Try to integrate relaxing elements into your daily routine and take care of yourself! Take time for yourself, don't try to do everything at once and say "no" once in a while. The world will certainly not end and you will quickly notice a difference!
2. leave the cell phone
This is an often-heard classic, but it is no less true because of it: The smartphone is our constant companion, reminding us around the clock of all the things that still need to be done. Unanswered messages, emails, tasks, people we should call and not to forget: Through various social media channels, a constant reminder that other people are supposedly getting more done than we are. That's why it's all the more difficult to mentally distance ourselves from everyday life when it's always right in front of us. That's why we advise you to leave your cell phone turned off, don't check your messages, or leave it in your hotel room. You will be surprised how much pressure comes off when you don't confront yourself with to-dos, but enjoy the place you are in!
3. take days before and after your vacation
A perhaps more unusual tip, on the other hand, is this: Take days off before and after your vacation! What we mean by this? If it is possible, allocate an extra day before departure and after arrival, in which you can adjust to the vacation in peace, or arrive back home! So you can pack and unpack without stress, do any shopping or other little things and do not have to do the change from everyday life to time off only on vacation, but can do this relaxed already at home!
4. do not stress
Once you have arrived, this is a trap you quickly fall into: Once you are on vacation and have the opportunity, you try to do, accommodate and experience as much as somehow possible. You think you're "catching up" or "making the most of your time" but you often end up even more stressed than you were before. For example, it quickly happens that you get into leisure time stress and all the things you were actually waiting for with joy suddenly become just more duties. There tends to be less enjoyment and relaxation left. That's why we recommend you to take it slow with the fun activities! This will give you more opportunity to enjoy and savor them - and that's what they should be there for!
5. sleep according to your own biorhythm
In our everyday lives, it's rarely possible for us to sleep when we want to. Most of us are bound to a certain external default as far as our sleep rhythm is concerned: getting up earlier than we would like and often going to bed later than we actually should due to leisure time stress. This routine often leads to chronic sleep deprivation. But did you know that each of us has a unique biorhythm according to which our body needs sleep?
Some of us are night owls and others are morning people. Both are correct and can be enjoyed especially on vacation! Because when we sleep according to our rhythm, our brain cells regenerate optimally and our memory is strengthened! While we sleep, the hippocampus transfers the impressions gathered during the day to our cerebrum - where they are stored in long-term memory.
6. listen to your gut feeling
You've been looking forward to an attraction at your vacation destination for weeks, but when you arrive, you suddenly don't feel like it anymore? That's absolutely fine! Don't force yourself to do activities just because you set out to do them. This is your vacation, so divide it up in the way that brings you the most relaxation! You want to party the night away or visit attractions? Do it! Rather relax in your room with the air conditioning, or spend the whole day at the beach? Both sound great! Remember that only you can decide what will do you the most good at that moment.
7. be patient with yourself
Has it ever happened to you that you made yourself feel guilty because you couldn't stop thinking about work, university, etc.? It's very easy to try to relax and suddenly get mad at yourself when things don't work out. What happens? You feel even more stressed than before! Unfortunately, it does no good at all to force yourself to relax. So cut yourself some slack if it doesn't work sometimes, or if your head wanders back into stress. That's part of it too! Ironically, in this case, the most effective thing you can do is simply accept the stress instead of suppressing it. However, we also know that it's not that easy to do. A great help for more mindfulness and acceptance is for example the Meditation! Try it out!
Mindfulness or better known as Mindfulness is the most important tool of meditation. And you can use it without having to meditate for hours! Take your time, sit on the beach, on the balcony, in a cafe or wherever you feel comfortable and be aware of your surroundings. Just observe what is happening around you: The people walking by, sounds, smells, the feeling of the sun on your skin - without actively thinking about it. You will be surprised how much peace and relaxation this simple exercise can bring. It will also surprise you how difficult this easy-sounding task is! Our thoughts are often louder than we realize.
Our conclusion for a relaxing vacation? In short: listen to your needs, take your time and don't be strict with yourself! Leisure activities can become a burden just as quickly as compulsory activities - so don't overbook yourself!
With more relaxation and time out in your everyday life, some distance from the daily to-dos and a vacation that is tailored to your wishes, there will soon be nothing standing in the way of your relaxation! And if you try our tips, or even know better ones: tell us about it!