Achieve vacation level relaxation without ever leaving your home. Here are 25 ways to relax without taking a vacation.
I hear from so many people about how stressed they are. They don’t have enough time to accomplish everything they want to do. They’re not sleeping well and they don’t feel good – in their body or in their mind. So I want to give you 25 ways to relax without taking a vacation.
You know you can relax on vacation, right? Right? I hope so, even if it takes you a few days to start relaxing. But the thing is, you can’t be on around the clock vacation, or can you?
Ok, probably not, but let’s look at the key elements that we enjoy and experience while on vacation and look at incorporating some of these things in our day-to-day lives right now.
25 Ways to Relax Without Taking a Vacation
Don’t save your relaxing for once a year vacation, or even a once a week yoga class. There are many ways to get out of your head, reduce anxiety, and enjoy your day-to-day life without ever leaving home. Here’s how to relax without taking a vacation.
1. Get Off Electronics
Sometimes I think it’s really nice to take a vacation in a foreign country where I don’t have cell phone access. It can be so freeing to unplug, and yes, sometimes I need to be forced, but I feel so much more relaxed after. Create your own device-free weekend or even day where you’re completely off your electronics and present in your life. Get your friends and family to join you so you can truly enjoy some quality time together.
It may be obvious but I know I catch myself using short, shallow breaths when I’m working with a deadline. Sometimes I even find myself holding my breath. A quick fix is to take a long, slow, deep inhale. When you do this your belly should rise and expand. I like to hold my inhale for a few beats and then match with an slow extended exhale. A few rounds of that immediately puts me in a relaxed state.
3. Soak in a Bath
If you’re like me, then you like to see what fun bath salts and bubbles hotels offer when you’re traveling. Nothing is more relaxing than a soak in the tub. Luckily I’ve now built up my own collection of bath salts and oils at home so I can drop into a deep relaxed state, no matter where I am. Create some quiet time to soak in a smell-good, relaxing bathtub where you can close your eyes and enjoy the silence.
4. Write it Down
I always bring a journal when I travel. I feel like my mind is more open and I have a better perspective on things when I’m not home. I do like to go back and re-read what I’ve written after a trip and then add on from my current state. Getting my thoughts down on paper helps me process events and feelings. The emptying from my head makes me feel a lot freer. Now I make sure to carve out time on Sunday’s, vacation or not, to reflect, write, and get my thoughts down.
5. Get Grateful
Do you find that you love everything on vacation? The orange juice is so fresh. The sky is so blue. The people are so nice. It’s all true but it may also be true while you’re at home as well. Having a daily gratitude practice can help you notice all the little things that are already wonderful in your everyday life but that you may take for granted. Take time to appreciate everything in your life and around you that is really special. You may find there’s more to love than you realized.
I feel so much more creative when I’m on vacation. There’s less distraction, which allows my mind to open. When I’m home, I need to schedule time to create. A great time to do this is right when I’m back from vacation! Otherwise, I might just sit and free-form write or even create a new recipe in the kitchen. I always get immersed in the activity and then find I’m really relaxed afterward.
7. Drink Tea
I love the ritual of making tea. I have a cute teapot that I fill with filtered water while I pick out a favorite tea. It’s a nice break during the day and feels like a special treat. If I’m stuck on a project, I’ll break for tea, and usually find that I’m refreshed with new insight afterward.
8. Pet a Dog
There’s a reason there are animal support dogs. They help people feel less anxious. Petting a friendly dog can also help reduce stress hormones. It’s hard not to smile at a dog who’s wagging his tail at you.
One of my favorite things about being on vacation is taking a nap. Napping feels so luxurious to me, and there’s no reason you can’t take one at home. A quick 20-minute power nap can leave you feeling recharged and relaxed, and ready to face the rest of the day.
10. Smell the Roses
Whenever I go somewhere new, I love looking at the different flowers. I get up close and put my nose right in them to get a good whiff. There are so many different scents and colors. I’ve been trying to get into the same practice while at home. Earlier this year, I went and saw the California Poppies. I loved looking at the subtle differences between each flower. And I’ll tell you what, I wasn’t focused on my to-do list at all during my poppy exploration. It’s a great release.
My family vacations involve kids of different ages but even if the kids weren’t there, my brother would still be leading many games and activities. We won’t discuss his possible ADD, but we will talk about all the games he brings. There’s everything from cards to Scrabble to Rummikub. And then of course there’s just playing in the water or if there’s a water slide, watch out. Find ways to embrace your inner-child when you’re home and play games that you enjoy and help you relax.
You can’t get to your favorite vacation destination to relax? Then bring it to you through guided imagery. Close your eyes and picture a favorite spot. See the colors, smell the aromas, hear the sounds. Really put yourself there in your mind. Visualizing a happy place can be a nice break after a long commute home.
13. Get Outside In Nature
Being outdoors can calm both your mind and your body. Children with ADHD were shown to be able to focus better after spending 20 minutes in a park. Don’t wait to go on vacation to surround yourself with the beauty of nature. Sit in a park, watch waves crash, or walk barefoot in the grass. All of these things should help you relax without taking a vacation.
14. Watch a Sunset
My favorite time of day while I’m traveling is always sunset. It comes at the end of great day and I love to watch the colors light up the sky. Guess what happens everyday whether you’re on vacation or not? Yup, the sunset. When I’m home and stressed out, watching the sunset helps put my day in perspective. It also signals that a new day is coming and that whatever was troubling me will be further behind me shortly.
15. Move Your Body
If I’m ever stuck or full of angst, I take a walk or go to yoga. If I don’t have time for a class, I put on some great music and start dancing in my own living room. I get that feel good endorphin release and feel much more focused to return to productive work.
16. Plan a Fun Date Night
Don’t you feel closer to a loved one after a relaxing vacation together? Don’t wait until it’s time to travel, plan a fun and different date night. Go somewhere new, cook something different, or check out an event in town. Mix things up to make it a more special evening to connect.
17. Read a Trashy Romance Novel
Why is it we usually save the lighthearted romance novels for vacation? It can be nice to give your brain a break and read something different than normal. A fun page-turner can transport you miles away, without ever leaving your home.
18. Listen to Music
Music can energize you and it can also relax you depending on the songs you play. If you’re in need of some relaxation, pick some soothing songs. You might also want to choose some island or calypso music to transport you to a favorite time and place. The sounds will help calm the activity in your brain. Close your eyes and lose yourself in the music, even if it’s just for one song.
19. Enjoy a Fabulous Meal
I know whenever I travel, I always like to try new things. For me, half the fun of going to a different country is learning about the culture through the cuisine. So be an explorer in your own city. Try a new restaurant, or revisit a favorite familiar one. And what’s not relaxing about having someone wait on you and bring you a meal with no cleanup involved!
Doesn’t laughter to seem to flow whenever you’re on vacation? It can be because you’re relaxed and not quite as stressed and serious. Laughter can reduce blood pressure, boost your immune system, and help create better connections with others. So hit a comedy club, listen to a funny podcast, or catch a special on TV.
21. Take a Class
Learn something new. Have you ever stayed at a hotel where they offer free sessions on things like water aerobics, basket weaving, or hair braiding? You may not quit your day-job to pursue any of these, but it can sure be a fun way to spend some time and get you out of your head. Visit your local community college or check Eventbrite for interesting classes near you.
22. Ditch the Weekend Schedule
Don’t you love not having a schedule while you’re on vacation? There’s nothing like waking up without an alarm and having an entire day without obligations. Plan a Saturday or Sunday where this is no plan. Wake up when you want and then let the day unfold as you like.
23. Take a Sick Day
If your weekends have been filled with obligations and work, take a mental health day during the week to do any and all of the above. Your sympathetic nervous system, the one that allows you to flee from charging bears, can only handle so much stress. A consistently elevated flight-or-fight response can lead to aches, pains, headaches, and lowered immunity – all of which can really make you sick if you don’t relax.
When you’re on vacation, it can feel like a weeklong meditation. You’re in the moment, your breathing is long and slow, and you don’t have a care in the world. While you may or may not be able to achieve all of those things in the middle of the workweek, you can squeeze a few moments to close your eyes, breathe, and let go. Set a timer for 5 minutes and see how you do and how you feel after just a few minutes of meditation.
25. Take a Day Trip
A long vacation may not be in your cards in the short term, so why not take a day trip somewhere to do a little exploring. This can be spontaneous since you don’t need to make hotel reservations or book a plane ticket. Hop in the car and get your mind and body out of your current state. A little can go a long way in getting you to relax without taking a vacation.