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5 Ways to Recharge This Summer Without Taking a Vacation

It’s summer – the season of vacations! Many people look forward to taking a break from work and other responsibilities during the summer months. The phrase “I need a vacation” may be playing over and over in your mind. But there’s just one problem – it’s not that simple. Maybe you don’t have many – or any – vacation days. Perhaps you have too much on your plate to shut down and unplug for a while. Or maybe you just can’t afford a vacation right now. Fortunately, not being able to travel and/or take extended time off from work doesn’t mean you can’t take a break! Here are five ways you can recharge this summer without taking a vacation.

  1. Build minibreaks into your day. Set aside 10-15 minutes several times during your day to take a break. When that time comes, get up and physically move to a different place. Go outside and take a short walk, read a few pages of a book, or listen to your favorite podcast. If there is a park nearby, go sit on a bench and savor the quiet. 
  1. Disengage from work when the workday is over. Once your workday is over, be done. Turn off your computer and your phone and resist the urge to check your inbox. It helps to end your workday with a walk around the block or some other activity that signals the transition between work and home. If completely unplugging isn’t realistic, think of this as encouragement to find pockets of time when you can put down your phone or step away from email and enjoy a much-needed break. 
  1. Treat the weekends as daycations. While resting on the weekends is important to a healthy work-life balance, active leisure has been proven to result in more positive moods. Taking a day trip, exploring your town or city, attending local events, or even just planning a picnic in your local park are small things that can have a big impact on how you’re feeling.
  1. Change your scenery. Maybe you don’t have the luxury of gazing out at the ocean or some other exotic landscape anytime soon, but changing your surroundings can have a positive impact on your attitude and work ethic. This can be something as simple as changing out your computer background or adding a plant to your desk. Add a diffuser to your office space – mint and citrus scents can perk you up, lavender can reduce stress, and tropical scents may help you feel like you’re away even though you aren’t. Or you can think bigger – if possible, rearrange your workspace or work from a different space or location.
  1. Switch up your routine. It’s human nature to stick to what we know. We find comfort in the safe and predicable. But small adjustments to your daily routine can give you a renewed sense of focus, and improve your creative thinking. If you typically go to the gym in the evening, try a morning workout. If you usually eat lunch at your desk, try eating outside or in a different place, even if it’s only a room away.

Even if you can’t take a full vacation this summer, the tips above can help you get the rest and refresh you need. If you find that you are having trouble relaxing and managing your stress, St. Luke’s Penn Foundation can help.