All of us would love to have enough money to go on a trip whenever we feel anxious or depressed. There’s nothing better than escaping to a luxurious resort to forget about the daily stresses we must deal with. As summer approaches, we may be looking forward to an annual family trip, or even a weekend getaway with a loved one. Unfortunately, most of us cannot afford to escape every time we need a break from life. Even paying for an annual one-week vacation can be too pricey during a time where inflation is sky high, and expenses are climbing.
This can make us feel stuck in a rut. Taking a vacation is too expensive, but not having a break is hurting our mental health. What do we do if we can’t afford to go on a trip to recharge and relax? Luckily, vacation doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to require any planning. We can take daily “mind trips” to relieve stress and anxiety by approaching our daily tasks differently and adjusting our thinking patterns.
The Psychology of Mindful Vacations
What does a real vacation do for our mental health and why do we love to go on them? A vacation allows us to forget about our problems and enter an alternate reality for a few days in which those issues no longer matter. Whatever problems we may have, they can wait until we get home. We can take a break from the monotony of work, school, and routine to do something different. This may include activities that we typically don’t do at home, such as snorkeling, laying out, or hiking.
What we are really craving is a break from our daily routine so we can rest, recharge, and have fun. We also want to spend time with loved ones, which we may neglect at home due to our daily tasks. Having something to look forward to every so often provides us with the stamina to get through daily life and work. Without these periodic breaks, we become restless, burnt out, and bored.
While we may not be able to physically go somewhere, we can take daily “mindfulness vacations” that allow us to achieve the same goals. By taking these daily breaks, we can also escape routine, boredom, and depression. While it may not be as fun as a regular vacation, these regular mind-trips will provide most of the same benefits to our mental health.
How to Use Mindfulness to Take a Break
Here are a few ways to rest, recharge, and relax without going anywhere at all:
Find a Quiet Place – The reason we feel anxious is because we are around constant noise. We need regular moments of quiet to relax. Find a place where you can be alone for a few minutes. Play some music, close your eyes, and picture a beautiful type of scenery that evokes peaceful emotions.
Go on a Solo Drive – Find time to go on a solo drive for 30 minutes or so. Put the windows down, blast some music, or play a meditation on Bluetooth (one that doesn’t make you too tired.)
Take a Walk – Take a ten minute walk every day, especially if you work in an office. It’s good for both your mental and physical health to get up and move around. Try not to use any technology during this time. Pay attention to what’s around you; there’s no need to rush.
Take a Day Trip – Find a local museum, park, or activity that you’ve always wanted to go to but never have. Taking a day trip can feel like taking a vacation, but it won’t be as expensive. Use the time to have fun, rest, recharge, and participate in something new.
Restorative Stretching and Yoga – Stretching and/or yoga can be enormously beneficial to our mental health. It helps our body relax and provides time for our brain to recharge. Find a YouTube video if you need help or look up a local class in the area. Just 10 minutes a day can do wonders for your mental health.
Talk to Someone – Talking to a therapist or friend can help us solve our problems and put them into perspective. Think of it as an hourly mind vacation where we can take the concerns inside of us and release them. Find a qualified therapist who can help you learn to relax, recharge, and reconnect with nature.
Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, or chronic stress? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.