Vacations are important, and it’s not just because they’re fun. Occasionally taking breaks from office life keeps your stress levels in check and your creative juices flowing.
But not every break is created equal. A vacation that involves constantly checking your phone, managing complex travel plans, or breaking the bank may do more harm than good. If your goal is to melt away stress, you need a relaxation retreat. Detachment, in some cases, is a very good thing.
Different things de-stress different people. A meditation week may suit you, but it might be isolating or uncomfortable for others. If you’re looking for your ideal retreat, here are a few jumping-off points:
1. A Backpacking Adventure
Whether you want to climb mountains, traverse forests, or see waterfalls, a backpacking trek is one of the best ways to blow off stress. Not only can physical activity improve your mood, but nature is also a welcome change of scenery after sitting all day in a cubicle.
If you’re going backpacking, though, you need to be prepared. The last thing you want during your stress-free backpacking adventure is to realize you’re missing a critical piece of equipment. Packing the right backpacking gear for your biome is crucial for your safety and sense of serenity.
2. Some Beach Time
If you want to get outside but don’t like the bumps and bruises associated with backpacking, why not head to the beach? Research shows that beach time can put you in a mild meditative state. Combined, the sand between your toes, the sun on your skin, and the sound of rushing seawater produce a potent stress-fighter.
For maximum relaxation, select a beach that isn’t too crowded. Make sure to stay hydrated, wear plenty of sunscreen, and seek shade if you start to overheat. Don’t let the relaxation benefits of the beach be undercut by unnecessary medical issues.
3. A Stay in the Woods
Every year, Bill Gates takes a “think week” in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. In his two-story cabin, the Microsoft founder disconnects completely and ponders his company’s future.
You may not have a private cabin you can escape to whenever you want, but you can enjoy time in the woods all the same. Their natural beauty, calm vibe, and clean air make forests the perfect escape from city life. Walk, hike, or just rest: You can’t go wrong.
4. An Exciting New City
Sometimes, the right stimulation can be relaxing. Cities can be crowded, loud, and dirty, but they’re also centers of culture. If shopping, dining, and the arts are your go-to vacation activities, break your work routine by exploring a new city.
If you’ve never traveled to a city in another country, challenge yourself. Get excited for the trip by learning local customs, practicing the language, and investigating nearby recreation opportunities. While there, check out touristy areas, but also try to live like a local. Stop into smaller shops, interact with people on the street, or spend an afternoon at the park if you get overwhelmed.
5. Right Where You Are
Not every retreat requires travel. Being a tourist in your own city can be a cost-effective escape, and it can also help you see your home community in a new light. Book a hotel room, take a sightseeing tour, and revisit some of your favorite places around town. Staycations offer the same stress-busting benefits of travel with a fraction of the hassles.
Your work stress didn’t accumulate in a single day; taking a single day off here and there won’t solve it, either. Give yourself an extended retreat, and be patient. You’ll be amazed at what a week away can do for your state of mind.