The essence of taking care of yourself is to improve your health and general wellbeing to enhance the quality of your life. One of the best ways to pamper yourself is to transform your typical vacation into a self-care marathon.
When you go on a vacation with a focus on self-care, you give your body a chance to recharge and your mind to de-stress and relax. Besides physical wellbeing, vacations are a great way to improve your mental and spiritual health.
You can pick up healthy sleeping habits and self-care routines for life. Recently, the tourism industry has seen an unprecedented increase (Airbnb saw a 22% increase in spend YOY in July 2020) in the number of people interested in vacations for the sole purpose of relaxation and wellbeing.
Now the only question that remains is how does one plan the perfect relaxing trip?
Keep reading to find out…
1. Set Your Goal
Setting vacation goals doesn’t mean setting deadlines and expectations. It means you spend your vacations mindfully with the sole purpose of improving your wellbeing. When you have a clear goal of what you hope to achieve from your self-care vacation, you will be able to plan it accordingly to maximize the experience.
Think about what you hope to achieve by the end of your self-care vacation.
- Are you looking to detox your mind and body like 1.8% of people who go to wellness retreats?
- Do you wish to get in shape and pick a healthy workout routine?
- Do you wish to start your journey on a spiritual path or perhaps achieve spiritual enlightenment?
- Do you hope to flex your mental muscles or gain insight into your emotions and emotional responses?
- Do you merely wish to spend time leisurely and return relaxed and pampered?
Whatever your aim maybe will set the stage for your trip planning.
2. Define Relaxation for YOU
What relaxation means to you may not mean for your partner, friends, or any other person. So, before you set off for that famous retreat everyone’s cooing about, ask yourself if that place aligns with your idea of relaxation.
Close your eyes and think about what makes you feel relaxed and pampered. Let your imagination run wild and construct the perfect trip in your mind without any inhibitions or limitations.
Now list down all the things that you discover about your idea of a relaxing trip. Is it hiking or deep diving, yoga or tai chi or just hanging out by the beach like 53% of the travelers?
3. Choose the Right Destination
Once you know your goal and your perfect idea of relaxation, choosing the right destination is a matter of research. While budget, commute time, and/or accessibility will undoubtedly influence your decision, make sure you choose destinations that allow you ample opportunities to experience self-care as you want it.
It doesn’t have to be an exotic location. If your self-care goals are fulfilled at a suitable location near you, why not!
Yoga, fitness and spa retreats have always been the most popular choices for self-care vacation destinations. Digital detox retreats are also increasing in demand. So, is the trend for staycations for remote employees and remote entrepreneurs who can spend extended time on vacation destinations because they can work online from a hotel or a coworking space.
Some other activities people look for in self-care destinations are:
- Tai Chi and Qigong programs
- Mindfulness meditation programs
- Trekking along a coastal path
- Scenic drives
- Surfing or diving retreats
- Sleep retreats
4. Plan the Logistics Beforehand
Pre-plan to keep the stress at a minimum. Take the uncertainty out of the entire plan as much as possible. Plus, planning a trip should feel just as enjoyable as actually going on vacation.
You can book the hotel, commute to the hotel, and travel guide beforehand to make the settling-in easier and smoother for yourself. You can use applications like Airbnb, TripIt, Skyscanner, KAYAK, and Google Travel to ease the process.
5. Let Professionals Plan a Trip for You
If planning a vacation on your own overwhelms you, don’t fret! You can leave it to the professionals. According to Travel Agent Central, around 44% of travelers are likely to use travel agents for planning their vacations.
Choose travel agents who specialize in health and wellness who can make your travel logistics effortless and can guide you on optimizing your vacations for ultimate self-care and stress relief.
6. Schedule Alone-Time For Calm and Reflection
Too much of everything can become overwhelming, whether it is alone time or socializing. If you are traveling with your family or as part of a group, make sure to schedule some alone time to spend in your company. Use the alone time to know yourself better, do some soul searching or just enjoy your own company.
Spending some time alone has many benefits backed by science. You can spend this time however you want ‒ visit a museum, relax by the pool, roam the streets, meditate or just curl on the sofa with a book.
7. Make Sure To Sleep Well
Do not miss out on sleep just because you’re on vacation and you want to savor every moment. Poor sleep can put a damper on your vacation, not to mention the self-care you intended to enjoy.
No matter what your idea of relaxation is or what self-care goal you hold, sleep is necessary to achieve it. Not getting enough sleep can slow your reflexes, hamper your immunity, and above all, increase your stress levels. So, no matter how much you enjoy the relaxing yoga or quiet time by the pool, make sure to keep a regular bedtime and stick to it.
To make sure your sleep doesn’t suffer,
- Adjust to the local time as soon as possible.
- Sleep strategically.
- Listen to your body.
- Keep yourself active during the day.
8. Leave Your Work Behind
Don’t sabotage your self-care vacation by bringing your work with you. Leave your work at your workplace and enjoy a fun time with yourself, your family or friends. If you’re worried that your work will suffer if you go on a vacay, you will be surprised to know that not taking time off can be more detrimental to your career, health, and productivity because of burnout.
Here are a few tips for leaving your work behind guilt-free:
- Choose a second-in-command for essential tasks.
- Give plenty of heads-up before leaving for vacation.
- Set up communication limitations.
- Use social media automation tools to maintain a social presence.
9. Loosen Up and Go With the Flow
Keep in mind that no amount of planning will result in de-stressing and proper self-care just because you go on a vacation. If you keep stressing about every little thing, you can’t truly relax and enjoy the experience. Try not to stress about everything and it’s okay if there are too many moving parts. Marvel in the unknown and give up the idea of trying to control everything.
Just go with the flow and enjoy every moment. One of the golden rules for enjoying your self-care vacation is to prepare for things under your control and accept the fact that there will be unexpected events that you will not be able to control. And that is perfectly okay!
Vacations as self-care are different from your standard holidays. The primary purpose of taking a wellness trip is not for Instagram or the aesthetics. Instead, it is to work on one’s physical, mental and spiritual health. If you’re able to plan a perfectly relaxing trip, it can refresh your mind, body, and soul, and help you get back to work with a newfound determination.