We just returned from a 5 week long vacation to Europe and a 95% tech/work detox!! This was such a blessing and such an important step towards sanity and recharging to be able to give my best for the rest of the year. In Sweden where I am from people take 5 weeks during the summer, and even close down their businesses for that time. So in July if you visit Stockholm, especially the residential areas, you will notice a lot of shops and restaurants are actually closed for the entire 5 weeks. Vacation is taken extremely seriously. According to professor Timothy Strandberg of the University of Helsinki, Finland, vacation can extend your life expectancy.
Taking time off has proven to reduce stress and prevent heart disease, as well as increase productivity and improve sleeping + your mental health and your relationships. Research shows that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world and often don’t use all of their paid vacation time. So maybe the Swedes, being ranked as some of the happiest people on the planet are on to something?
Taking time off to recharge your batteries is crucial so that you can enjoy time with loved ones, relax and really wind down on all levels. Below are some tips on how you can make the most of your vacation:
Don’t go crazy during the first part by trying to save the resting for last. Think of balance all along and read a good book and enjoy a massage or a facial and take a nice bath in between.
Pack lightly! We always think we need so much more when we don’t. From experience I end up using less than half of the clothes I bring. You can always buy something you forgot or truly need while traveling. This year I shared one suitcase with my son and it was more than enough.
Try to detox from work and social media. Make it a point to only use it during certain hours you set out if you absolutely must. It’s great to have some whole days completely free from your phone. Just leave it behind those days if you dare:)
Enjoy life and being present with your loved ones. Avoid having expectations. Rather, go with the flow and don’t try to fix or manage impossible things during your vacation. Let it go!!Relax, relax, relax!!
Being a mother and traveling with children has its own challenges and some say it’s not really a vacation at all. I say it’s really up to us to make it so and I have learned to finds ways of accepting what is and try my best to relax with my son and do stuff together that lightens us both up! It’s important to have lots of fun and play as much as humanly possible. This helped us both adapt to all the travel plans which were many, and find ways to relax and enjoy together. When we are on vacation we also bend the rules and enjoy things we usually wouldn’t such as delayed bedtime, sweets, more shopping, and dining out, as we need to stay flexible. That also includes eating (vegan sugar free) ice cream for breakfast and spoil ourselves with some extra stuff sometimes:) I do let him know that this is ONLY during vacation.
Another challenge is being vegan/gluten-free and staying with family and friends or travel to remote places. To not make it too complicated to ourselves and others we try to plan to buy and bring food or just simply not be too militant when it’s not possible. It’s just temporary, and some gluten or dairy products are unavoidable at times. The most important part is not to worry too much and just go with the flow. Vacations are for de-stressing, relaxing and recharging! This is why it’s so important to create that space to really recharge and enjoy your time with family and loved ones and chill out. It’s not the end of the world when things do not turn out the way you want them to:) Once you adapt that flexible attitude, you’ll notice vacations become so effortless and fun!