6 Ways To Unwind On Vacation

PICTURE THIS: YOU’RE ON YOUR DREAM HOLIDAY , but instead of soaking up the sights, wandering along random streets and stumbling upon the best foodie hotspots, you’re cramped up in your hotel scrolling through Facebook and replying to emails that defi nitely could’ve waited. Sound familiar? We hear you, girl, but if you want to really maximise the stress-busting benefi ts of taking a vacation, you need to learn to let go. Because unwinding is easier said than done, we’ve got all the expert tips on how you can unplug (and keep it that way) right here.

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#1 FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED “It’s always a good idea to tie up loose ends before heading offon vacation, so you can fully switch offand relax,” says health coach Nikki Ayres (nikkiayres.com.au). There’s nothing worse than waking up from your poolside snooze to worry about something going on at home, so create a to-do list before you leave, sign offon any unfi nished business at work and let your colleagues know you’ll be away (*cough* not to call or email you). “Another tip is to do a big clean of your house and car as this will help you adjust to normal life when you return,” adds Ayres. “It’s nice to come home to a clean and tidy environment and it makes you feel organised and less stressed.”

#2 PERFECT YOUR OUT-OF-OFFICE It might seem like a silly question, but when people read your out-of-offce email, can they tell you’re on vacation? If they can’t, they’ll probably spam your inbox with a million follow-up emails and make it diffcult for you to switch off. Unless your company’s at risk of falling apart without you, make it clear in your out-of-offce that a) You’re on vacation, b) You won’t be able to respond and c) People can contact alternative team members during your absence. “This helps you relax and unwind as you know that anyone who contacts you will be informed,” explains Ayres.

#3 DITCH THE PHONE Technology is to holidays what doughnuts are to healthy-eating plans: bad news. If you’re always plugged in, you won’t be able to loosen up and make the most of your time off, so try to limit phone use as much as possible. Special exceptions can be made for Google Maps and letting your mum know you weren’t kidnapped on the way to your hotel, but try to keep it in your pocket. Oh, and if you can, bring along an actual camera so you’re not so dependent on your mobile. If there’s no way you’ll be able to give up the tech completely, create healthy boundaries, says Ayres. That means no checking of emails outside of designated times, limited social media and no phones during meals. “Mobile phones can be useful while on vacation, but if they become distracting, then it’s time to stop, drop and look up,” adds Ayres.

#4 TRY NEW THINGS The best way to detach from everyday stress? Explore the unknown. According to Ayres, new adventures help you live in the moment and make time slow down, so when you’re not catching up on zzzs, spend your days on the edge of your comfort zone. Whether it’s signing up for a mountain hike or scuba diving for the very fi rst time, new activities will fi ll your brain with so many sights and sounds you won’t have time (or feel the need) to worry about things going on back in the real world.

#5 TREAT YOURSELF You’ve already spent the big bucks on getting there, so go the extra mile and show yourself a little more TLC. If you never schedule massages or facials at home because you don’t have time, book in for one while you’re away. Spas not your thing? Seek out the spaces that make your heart happy. If you feel your best self in a fancy old library, explore the city to fi nd one, or, if all you want is a beach to laze on, camp out by the shore and watch the sunset.

#6 DON’T OVERPLAN YOUR DAY If you’ve ever returned from a getaway feeling more exhausted than you were when you left, you might have gone a tad OTT with the activities. Holidays are your chance to get zen and rejuvenate, so ensure that you leave room for relaxing. “Create a list of destinations and things you really want to do during your vacation and space them out,” tips Ayres. “The best way to create balance is to halve your days. If you plan an outing in the morning, leave the afternoon for free time. If you overplan, you leave no time for spontaneous fun, and it’s that juicy space in between that allows you to fully relax.

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