Reduce Stress: Take a Mini-Vacation

Companies are learning to work with less, and often, that means that today’s employees are expected to do more than ever and increased stress may be an unintended outcome.

Take a Mini-Vacation

According to a recent Gallup Small Business Index survey, 42% of small business owners who hired new workers, hired fewer employees than they needed. And the reason they hired those new employees? It wasn’t to alleviate burdens, take on additional roles, or support expansion. The vast majority of those new hires were simply replacements of employees who chose to leave for greener, perhaps less overloaded, pastures.

Another Gallup poll revealed that while employees are generally satisfied with their bosses, coworkers, and amount of recognition for a job well done, their greatest challenge was on-the-job stress.

Modern workers are dealing with stress and job burnout at a historic rate. They don’t make full use of their vacation time, and when they do, they typically take their jobs along for the ride. With time and budget constraints at an all time high, many people are choosing “staycations” and “mini-vacations”, short, highly focused power-breaks aimed to reboot and recharge zapped energy levels with minimal downtime and expense.

Here are a few ideas for reducing stress with condensed getaways that beat a weekend on the couch.

Take a Tour: There are many options available for whiling away an afternoon in an informative manner. Tours are a great way to relax, learn, and re-energize. You can take the kids on a fun and tasty tour of a candy factory, or you can satisfy your more mature curiosities with a citywide architectural tour, or a guided walk through a historical building.

Take a Trip: Sometimes just getting an hour’s distance out of the city can feel like a whole new world. Road trips are great, but nothing beats a day’s jaunt on an old train line, or a crooked trail atop a sauntering old horse. It’s not always about the destination. Sometimes the magic is in the journey.

Spend the Night: Even just one night in a different location can break up the doldrums. Try a hotel in the city, a resort in the mountains, or a bed and breakfast in the country. A little change of scenery can go a long way to refreshing the spirit.

Stimulate Your Mind: For a quick mental fix, museums offer a wide range of affordable options with a minimum investment of time.  There’s practically a museum for everything: art, natural history, local history, railroads, even weird and offbeat museums like barbed wire and cheese museums.  Planetariums and observatories are also great places to educate yourself while unwinding.

Get Outside: Even a brief visit into the outdoors has rejuvenating powers. Camping outside under the stars, next to a warm fire brings people back to their most primal, atavistic roots, and there are few sights that can put our daily troubles into perspective like a mountain firmament at night, blazing with a billion little suns.  If you don’t have time for an overnighter, just hitting the trail for an afternoon hike will yield surprisingly powerful results.

Join an Audience: Let somebody else entertain you for a change. It may have been a while since the last time you bought a movie ticket, but can you remember the last time you caught a play, enjoyed a concert, or laughed all night at a comedy club? Add a little variety to your life and your ticket stub collection with just a few out-of-the-ordinary nights out.

Create a Home Spa: A home spa experience is a great way to pamper yourself without busting the bank or cutting too deeply into your personal time. Be sure to include products and tools to revitalize the body, face and hair. Here is a short checklist from Discovery Health:

  1. Long handled natural bristle bath brush
  2. Loofah or Terry cloth washcloth (Avoid synthetic scrubbers as they are overly harsh)
  3. Bath salts
  4. A selection of essential aromatic oils
  5. Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory cleansers, toners and moisturizers
  6. Coarse sea salt
  7. Plenty of chilled spring water (with a splash of lime or lemon) to keep your body hydrated and to eliminate toxins from the inside out.