The aches and pains I have at home disappear, all of my tension drains, and I sleep better and have more energy. If only I could pack that blissed-out feeling into my suitcase as a souvenir.
“We feel so great on holiday because we let go of all of life’s stressors—finances, health, relationships, work—and tap into that relaxation response,” says Suzanne Zilkowsky, owner of Vancouver Health Coach, a company that coaches clients on health, fitness and stress management. “We don’t worry about timelines, we probably get more sleep, and we nourish ourselves better. Obviously, our stress is minimized.”
It’s a phenomenon that’s backed by research: Studies have found that vacations help relieve work-related stress and provide benefits for rest and recuperation, health, and well-being and personal growth.
The trick, of course, is to capture that holiday feeling – bottling it like sand from a distant beach – and bring back the great sleeps, mindful meals, fresh air, exercise and restorative practices that are the hallmarks of time away. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are seven tips for achieving stress-reduced living, one for each day of the week.
Sleep is vital to brain function.
Not only does a good night’s slumber improve learning but studies also show that not spending enough time between the sheets can have a negative impact on your daily life. People who are sleep deprived have a harder time controlling their emotions, making decisions, paying attention, and managing stress.
“When you’re tired, you tend to cope poorly, eat worse, and have bad habits [such as caffeine consumption] that reinforce poor sleep,” says Dr. Atul Khullar, medical director of the Northern Alberta Sleep Clinic and senior consultant for MedSleep, a nationwide network of clinics that treats sleep disorders.
“If you’re sleeping better on vacation, you should really examine your sleep habits in your own bedroom.” Dr. Khullar says that the most important thing is to not bring any problems to bed, which is what happens if you have your phone, computer, or television in the bedroom. It also helps to remove the clock (or angle it) so you can’t watch it and make sure that the room is dark and cool. Finally, you should aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re falling short, start by going to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier. “Added up over a week, it can make a big difference,” he says.