Vacation Habits To Defend Future Burnouts

There are few more satisfying feelings than turning on your out-of-office reply and starting your well-earned vacation. If you’re like most worn-out workers, you have a few ideas on what you need from your break. You plan to destress, have fun, reconnect and create priceless memories. For many people vacation also provides a rare opportunity to have the time to reflect on the things that are working in their lives and seek ways to improve what isn’t. You may be leaving work objectives behind, but vacation is a great time to prioritize self-care, self-development and family. A successful vacation is more than an escape from work. You should return as a better you than when you left. If you’re ready to vacation with a purpose, here are a few tips, backed by research, to help you optimize your well-being and reap the benefits long after your time offends.

1.    Focus on unfocusing

Vacation is meant to refresh the mind, body and spirit, which makes it the perfect time to relax your brain and train your unfocused network. According to Srini Pillay, M.D. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Tinker Dabble Doodle Try, the unfocused network is responsible for creativity, linking ideas and connecting you to your inner self. His book suggests incorporating specific brain training techniques done while napping, daydreaming and exercising to increase recovery and stimulate new ideas.

2.    Skip the small talk

Connect more deeply during those leisurely dinners with your partner, friends or family, and dive into heavier topics that reveal who you are and who you are becoming. Studies by Matthias Mehl, a professor of psychology at the University of Arizona showed that while small talk will not harm a relationship, people having deeper and more substantial conversations were happier overall. Ask probing questions, embrace your own vulnerability and get to know your loved ones better.

3.    Follow your curiosity

A good vacation should help you connect with your inner child, and children are naturally curious. Yet, according to a study by Francesca Gino, a behavioural scientist, author and professor at Harvard Business School, only 24% of employees reported feeling curious in their jobs on a regular basis. Curiosity at work is closely tied to innovation, but on vacation, its main purpose is to spark fascination. While you have more free time on your hands, reconnect with your natural curiosity. Inquire about the living things, processes and objects that interest you and ask as many questions as you like. Encourage curiosity and you will inevitably become more inspired.

4.    Start a digital detox

study conducted by James Cook University researchers in Australia found that digital-free tourism (DFT) is on the rise and quickly becoming a desired vacation option. More and more, people are seeking to escape not just their daily routine but also the digital distractions that keep them from being present and fully enjoying their life. While on vacation, try disconnecting as much as you can. Leave the world of breaking news, business and status updates behind and be in the moment. If you enjoy the detox, consider limiting or confining your digital usage once you return.

5.    Opt for fiction

You may already have a leadership or business book packed and ready to go, but swap it out for fiction. A study conducted by psychologist Diana Tamir at the Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab further validates that reading fiction serves as a simulator to human experience and helps readers better predict social motivators and feelings. The many benefits of reading fiction include increasing compassion, generosity and empathy, all attributes that will serve you well during vacation and throughout your life.

6.    Reconnect with nature

Plan time to embrace nature and soak in your surroundings. Frances Kuo, an associate professor of natural resources and environmental sciences, founded the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory (LHHL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to focus on the relationship between human health and greenspace. Her work highlights that time in nature is not just a nice activity, but rather a major influencer on your mental and emotional health. Find ways to spend more of your vacation outdoors and bring this habit home with you.

Credit: Kourtney Whitehead for Forbes, 28 July 2019.