Summer vacation is supposed to be about rest and relaxation, but when you’re used to always being “on,” trying to enjoy your free time can be stressful! Dr. Robert Glatter, otherwise known as “Dr. 911” and the on-set doctor for Gossip Girl and other shows and movies, gave us some helpful tips for making the most of your summer vacays. His advice will help you enjoy your time off, stress-free!
1. Keep to routines
Even though you may be on vacation, setting up routines may actually help to provide some structure to avoid feeling stressed. For example, if sleeping late makes you feel like you are wasting your day, then setting up a routine schedule to wake up and go to sleep at specific times may allow you to feel less stress when scheduling vacation activities.
2. Breath deeply
Focusing on breathing is an important way to relieve your mind of its many distractions. Slow, deep abdominal breathing for just 5-10 minutes can help to lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and clear your mind. This is can be accomplished by focusing on nothing else but your breathing, listening to and feeling the air rush in and out of your lungs.
3. Think positive
Making a conscious effort to focus on positive thoughts, whether it’s a relationship, object or idea can help to make your vacation time more satisfying. Focus to help reduce racing and intrusive thoughts. By focusing on a particular mantra, your mind can isolate and concentrate on a single object thought or task and block out outside pressures and stressors.
4. Compartmentalize Stress Provokers
Being able to effectively deal with your anxiety starts with identifying stressors, and learning to compartmentalize them. Simply realizing that there are some stressful things and situations that you cannot control will help you to actually let go of some of your stress.
5. Schedule time to check emails and perform work-related activities
In an age of constant connectivity with laptops, tablets and smart phones, it’s important to reserve time each day to check and respond to emails. It’s important to let people know you are away, and will only be checking messages a few times during the day. Unless an emergency develops, resist the urge to respond throughout the day to these messages. Knowing that your day isn’t focused on email or social media, should allow you to more effectively spend time with your friends and family.
6. Relax by engaging in physical activities
Engaging in activities that are both physically and mentally challenging may be more effective in helping you to truly relax your mind and let go of stress. For example, reading a book on a beach may be relaxing to some people. Activities that are more physically and mentally challenging may help to achieve more meaningful levels of relaxation on a vacation.
7. Practice aromatherapy
Having summery scents available in the form of lotions, gels, infusers or candles may help make your summer vacation more pleasant and relaxing. Citrus-based scents as well as flowery-based sprays, oils, or candles can help make you feel more relaxed and calm amidst busy days activities.
|Dr. Robert Glatter, a graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, completed his training in Emergency Medicine at SUNY Downstate/Kings County Hospital in 2001. Prior to that, he spent three years training in General Surgery. Dr. Glatter is a member of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) and currently serves as an Editor for an educational website for emergency physicians, Medscape, a WebMD affiliate. He takes interest in Sports Medicine and sports-related injury, and has served as a sideline physician in the NFL for the New York Jets since 2004.
Dr. Glatter is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine, is affiliated with both Lenox Hill and Southampton Hospitals, and is quickly able to assess or triage any medical or surgical problem in adult and pediatric patients, making appropriate arrangements should an ailment require more emergent treatment and care.
Photo courtesy of Mark C. Smith