Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog
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Avoid Stress on Your Summer Vacation

In theory, summer vacations are all about relaxing, recreating, reconnecting with family members and friends—basically just having some fun, allowing your body and mind to recharge, and ridding yourself of the stress that’s pent up during your work or school life. In actual practice, summer vacations do not always turn out this way. Whether you are road tripping with your family or flying cross-country with some friends, summer travel can often cause as much stress as it alleviates. It does not have to though. The important thing is to consider your summer vacation strategically. Be intentional about keeping it low-stress, and have tools in place to tackle stress if it does develop.

Tips for Minimizing Stress on Your Summer Vacation

Remember: Stress can trigger or exacerbate your eating disorder and throw a wrench into your recovery, at least if you do not handle that stress well. With that said, here are some stress management tips to carry with you on your summer vacation. First, make sure you minimize stress during the actual travel process. This is where so much vacation-related stress comes from. If you can make your travel arrangements as smooth as possible, you can start your summer vacation on the right foot. Some general tips to keep in mind:
  • If you drive, make sure you look at a map and know the general route in advance; Google Maps is great, but do not lean on it completely.
  • Use the Web and relevant apps to figure out what the weather will be like, what kind of traffic you should experience, and what kinds of construction you might run into on your voyage. Know what you are getting into!
  • Pick a good time to drive. You may wish to devote a full day to travel, or else leave either early in the morning or later in the evening, simply depending on how far you have to go and when your peak hours of alertness tend to be.
  • If you fly, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and make it through TSA screenings without feeling rushed. Also, know what you can and cannot get through Security, and which items you will have to unpack to show the TSA agents. You can learn all this on the TSA website.
Do not forget about self-care. When you are on vacation, all your usual rules and routines can go out the window—but this is a big mistake, as it can actually cause you to feel worse and have less energy. Make sure to stay in the habit of getting eight hours of sleep, no matter how excited you are about your trip. Stick to your meal plan, too; you might consider speaking with your dietitian in advance to ask how your meal guidelines can be adapted to your vacation spot. Also make sure that if you are travelling far, you schedule your vacation activities to allow yourself time to recover from jet lag. Set boundaries. Your mental health may very well depend on you getting some uninterrupted off time from your job, so make sure you have firm boundaries in place with your employer. You should not have to worry about receiving work calls while you are gone, and it is best to disable your work e-mail completely, while leaving work-related laptops and tablets at the office where they belong. Give yourself some space. While group vacations are bound to be fun, you may also need some solitary time to recharge your batteries—so do not hesitate to plan some, or to take just a few minutes to go for a walk or spend some time meditating by yourself. Follow these steps and enjoy a vacation that is light on stress, and heavy on fun! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter!