Enjoying Your Summer Vacation and Staying Stress Free

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penguinAll year long we look forward to the beautiful dog days of summer: warmer weather, days at the beach, longer hours of daylight, grilling, amazing and bountiful summer produce, and getting some much needed rest and relaxation.

Yet for many, summer does not mean a time of relaxation. The idea of doing nothing during a vacation or during the summer causes many stress and anxiety. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this anxiety Summer Stress Syndrome. He suggests that people crave mental simulation. The idea of doing nothing may be nice for a few days but can eventually lead people to feel unfulfilled. This can take away from the enjoyment of summer and vacation and lead people to become more stressed about everything they left at home.

One of the best ways to avoid Summer Stress Syndrome is to plan. Plan things to do on your trip that will keep you engaged. Consider what type of activities you enjoy and include those on your trip. Do you enjoy mountain biking? Find a trail near your hotel. Do you enjoy reading? Make sure to pack or download books you enjoy. Take shorter trips instead of week long vacations. Learn a new hobby. The idea is to keep your mind and body engaged so that you avoid stress and can truly unwind.

As we enter the final month of summer, consider finding ways to make August relaxing and enjoyable. It may take some planning but in the end the rest of your summer will belong to you.

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