There was a time not that long ago when people didn’t travel everywhere with a cellphone. It wasn’t even until the ’90s when accessing our email on our cellphones became a possibility. I’m no doctor or anything, but I’m pretty sure constantly being connected is the new cancer. It’s stressing us the heck out, leading to burnout, and it definitely can’t be good for that whole anxiety thing.
But let’s remember that while it may be hard to unwind and detach on vacation these days, it’s not impossible and it’s 100 percent necessary. Here are few pointers to help you tune out the noise and actually relax.
1. Escape cell service
Ever wish there were a magic button to fight stress? Well, there is. It’s on your phone, and it’s called “airplane mode,” or better yet, “off.” Give people alternative numbers to where you’re staying for emergencies — like the good ol’ days before we all turned into cyborgs.
And if you’re going somewhere international, don’t go out of your way to upgrade your plan or pay for roaming charges. Don’t even call to ask about it. Just put that sucker in airplane mode (so you can still use the camera) and don’t think twice about it until you get home.
2. Be aware of your FOMO
Thanks to social media, we all seem to have a fear of missing out. Who cares if Barbara gets engaged, Tara just made tacos or Sandra loves her #MostRomanticSpouseEver. Live in your moment instead and stop worrying about what’s waiting for you on your Facebook feed. Every time you reach for your phone, ask yourself, “Do I really need to check that?” Or better yet, “Do I really need to post that?” Your vacation photos will still give your friends vacation envy when you get home.
3. Chuck the itinerary or let someone else figure it out
Don’t dot all of your i’s and cross all of your t’s. Just don’t. Sometimes, it’s better to travel with no more than a basic idea of what you’re doing and what you want to see and just let the rest fall into place. Don’t underschedule, but don’t overschedule. And consider trips that don’t actually require a lot of detailed plans to begin with, like a cruise. You can book an entire cruise on Princess Cruises using one of their vacation planners — easy-peasy — and once your vacation starts, they’ll get you everywhere you need to go.
If you’re going somewhere that does require detailed coordinating, enlist a travel agent to help you out. There’s no rule that says you have to do it all yourself. This is about kicking up your feet, letting your hair down and kissing (some) responsibility goodbye for a while.
More: How to ruin your vacation with one swipe on your iPhone
4. Plan a vacation you can actually afford
It will be hard to relax if you’re living in a toxic bubble of “I can’t afford this” stress. So, travel within your means. At the same time, recognize that it’s OK to treat yourself. There’s a difference between “I can’t afford this” and “I’m spending more than usual.” Make peace with the fact that you’ll see some hard-earned cash leave your fingertips, and know that it’s for a good reason.
5. Set expectations with co-workers before you leave
None of this “here’s how you can reach me on vacation” nonsense. Sure, there will be fires that need putting out, but if you prepare your co-workers to help you pick up the slack and map out a few emergency exits for them, you’ll have a better shot at truly unplugging on your vacation. Say it with me: Someone else can handle it. And when they go on vacation, you can return the favor. It’s a circle of love.
6. Might as well try meditating (or some other routine you’ve been meaning to try)
Vacations are a great time to establish a new habit that you’ve been too frazzled to think about back home. For example, journaling or meditating — when you’re in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, who has time? But if you have seven days away from home, why not give it a try? If you enjoy it and find that it really helps you, you’ll find a way to make it stick in your normal routine.
7. Remember your why
There’s what you do, and there’s why you do it. So when work frantically calls you on vacation (if you just couldn’t manage to turn your phone off), try to remember that’s only what you do for a living. At the end of the day, our jobs give us benefits that help us support our families and spend time with friends and do things for ourselves. If you don’t actually have the time to do any of those things, what’s the point? Take the time you’re given and go all in. Deal with the rest when you get home.
This post was sponsored by Princess Cruises.