This seems like the perfect time of year to revisit the benefits of a vacation. The academic year is coming to a close, the children are out of school for the summer, and the light at the end of the tunnel is that anticipated summer vacation… or is it?
So what could be causing this so called “vacation stress?” The preparation for taking a vacation can sometimes feel like a full time job itself due to work or school responsibilities, running last minute errands, and packing. Then once it’s time to actually depart for your vacation, you may have to fight traffic on the highways or crowds at the airport. So should we just plan for a staycation?
Luckily a little preparation ahead of time makes all the difference. Preparing for vacation well in advance is a great way to keep stress low. If you have flexibility regarding the time of year you travel, do some research on when the “busy” season is for your destination and try to avoid it. If you’re traveling by air, make sure to check the recommended arrival time for your airport, and the suggestions for getting through security with less hassle. Once you’re on vacation, avoid spending excessive time tending to responsibilities back home. For example, set limits on checking your work email. Last but not least, make sure to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation before and during your trip can cut into the relaxation of the vacation experience.
For more information on vacation stress check out www.webmd.com
Terri J. Pelley, MA, is a third year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. She is also Chair-Elect for the Ohio Psychological Association for Graduate Students.