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How to Stay Stress-Free… Even After Your Vacation Is Over

As the winter holidays recede into the rear-view mirror,  perhaps you’re slowly beginning to relax… “What?” you ask? “I just had a vacation over the winter holidays? Why would I need time to relax?”

However, the truth is, most of us feel we need a vacation after our vacation. Studies have shown the stress of a taking time away from work can leave you worse off than if you didn’t take any vacation at all!

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As February and mid-winter both approach, many of us plan a vacation someplace warm. Will we really be able to decompress? Will this sense of relaxation your feel at our St. Martin resort continue even after we return to the daily grind?

We’d like to take a look at how to truly decompress during your vacation, and the causes of stress in the first place.

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Photo by Flickr user David Taquin. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

What Causes Stress?

While your job, your manager, or perhaps workplace conflict can cause stress, for most of us it’s a range of factors we encounter in daily life.

Lack of Time and Lack of Self Care

These personal factors can include your commute, lack of work/life balance, childcare responsibilities, financial issues, personal relationships, and so on. In the end it means you often lack the time for proper “self care,” such as exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep.

Eating right can help influence your mood. For example, a low-carb diet, combined with foods high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts) may help protect against depression.

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Exercise is also important. Nothing can beat regular exercise as a stress-busting technique. The result of the ‘fight or fight’ reaction is that our bodies go into a state of high arousal but there is often nowhere for that energy to go, so our bodies can stay in this state for hours at a time.

The challenge with daily life is we often don’t have time to eat healthily or get exercise. So this causes stress.

Social Media Causes Stress?

Believe it or not, your social media habits can affect your stress levels. For example, a recent study showed that taking a break from Facebook improved a sense of well-being.

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The Research finds leaving social network for a week increases life satisfaction, especially among heavy users and “lurkers.”

Questionnaires conducted at the beginning and end of the week-long study indicated that taking a break from the site increased life satisfaction and positive emotions.

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The effects of quitting were found to be greater among heavy users, passive users and those who envied others on the social network. There was no positive effect of taking a break for light users.

How to Plan a Stress-Free Vacation

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So, we know a little bit more about the causes of stress. Isn’t it best just to plan a vacation to escape from all of our worries?

The vacation study we quoted earlier in this article came to one conclusion when it came to planning vacations that truly relax you: effective vacations are ones that give you the choice and freedom to choose what you want to do.

This means two things:

  • Try to avoid structuring your vacation around an unbreakable schedule
  • Plan on going somewhere that has multiple options to pick from depending on the weather, your level of energy, or your budget
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Photo by Flickr user chezshai. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Tip 1: Don’t Overschedule Your Vacation

A lot of us feel pressured when we go on vacation. We want to make the most of our time, and get the most value for our hard-earned money.

Our advice?

Never leave your resort. Try to find an all-inclusive beachfront resort that has a good restaurant, and a beautiful pool. That way you’ll never feel the urge to seek out the sun someplace far away from where you’re staying.

And we can think of one resort here in Grand Case that you should consider.

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Tip 2: Choose a Destination With Multiple Things to Do

If you feel you must leave your resort, then try to find a place that offers you a wide variety of activities to choose from, depending on your mood.

This way you will never be forced into choosing one activity it turns out you didn’t really want to do after all.

For example, the village of Grand Case provides a variety of experiences. There are beaches to explore, French restaurants, as well as “lolos” that sell delicious local foods. If you want to go snorkeling or paddling, you can do that, too.

Or, you can just sit on the beach and relax.

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Leave Your Work Behind

Finally, plan to check out during your vacation. One in four workers plan to work while on vacation, while 23% of people at the very least check their email while away.

This is obviously counterproductive, and doesn’t really let you have a vacation at all. So don’t look at emails, log out of Facebook and turn your smartphone off.

Instead, use your time to rest, relax, eat good food and enjoy the good life here in St. Martin.