Life can get pretty stressful. Work alone is enough to get make most people feel tense: Add in other things like hobbies, exercise, kids and jobs around the house, and it becomes a wonder how anyone manages to get  sleep at night. After a while, everything can start to feel like it's piling up. If you're at the end of the rope, a vacation might be just the thing to get you feeling like yourself again. Vacations can help you feel recharged and ready for all that life has in store. 

Get Away

The simple act of being in a different place can help you feel more relaxed and detached from your usual sources of stress. The endless spreadsheets at work aren't your problem if you're hundreds or thousands of miles away from the office. It's important, however, that you let yourself experience this detachment. In the digital age, it's not always enough to be physically away from your day-to-day life; you also have to mentally separate yourself. 

To do this, set hard and fast rules about how and when you can be contacted. Set your work email to notify co-workers who send you a message that you're out of the office, and give them someone else to reach in your place. One way you can ensure that no one will reach out to you unless it's absolutely necessary is to only give your out-of-office contact information to one person. Pick a co-worker whose judgment you trust so he or she won't use the information on a whim. 


A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that people who went on relaxing vacations actually returned happier than they were when they left. However, there is a catch: The vacation has to be genuinely relaxing. Even if you enjoy yourself, you're not going to get the same benefits from a busy or heavily scheduled vacation as you would if you spent time winding down.

For a really relaxing vacation, try to schedule as much downtime as you can, and don't have too many set-in-stone commitments. The more flexible your plan is, the less likely you are to end up stressed out when things don't go perfectly. Remember that no vacation goes exactly the way you expect it to, so be prepared to have things change along the way. You can also give yourself some ease of mind by getting trip cancellation insurance, so you don't have to worry about losing money if something causes your trip to run short.


You know how if you sleep on a problem, sometimes you wake up the next morning with the solution as clear as day? The same principle applies to vacations. Being apart from your obligations gives your mind some time to re-evaluate them. The odds are good that when you come back from your trip, you'll feel way more well-equipped to deal with your sources of stress. Vacations don't just let you relax while you're gone: They make what you're coming back to much easier to handle.