4 Mini Vacations for Mental Health

January 19, 2015

One of the most significant and taxing times of my life was during the winter last year when my family was falling apart on a different coast than I was living on, and I was unable to do anything about it. Instead of talking through the problems I was having and trying to have someone else support me, I shut down and ran away to Provincetown, the furthest town I could get to on the Cape of Massachusetts. It turned out to be one of the best things that I could have done in the moment. I sat on the beach, in my thoughts, and completely away from the “real world.” It felt good to take time to myself to de-stress, get a cup of coffee, and just experience a new place. I wasn’t in Provincetown for very long, but I was able to escape my usual surrounding, problems, and re-evaluate what I needed to do. It was nice just to relax and be a human.

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Provincetown, MA

While typical holiday vacation season may be over, it seems that more and more people are becoming stressed and burned out during the long winter months. Once a month, or even once every few months, it is great to get away from the stressors of everyday life and just decompress. Many studies even show that vacations make a person more productive, alert, and better able to manage stress. Mini vacations also allow you to take time to give your body a break from its usual stressors. These breaks do not need to be expensive, and you really don’t need to go far for one. Whether it be going on an all day walk, exploring somewhere new, or just reading, it’s good to “get away” from it all.

Try some of these fun (and inexpensive) mini vacation ideas:

Take a break in nature

One of the most relaxing mini vacations for me is to take a long hike either solo or with friends somewhere with clean air and no cell phone service. My favorite is Muir Woods in Marin County, but I seek out hikes any place I may be near. Pick a warm-ish day, dress in layers, pack some snacks and water, and let nature work its magic. It’s amazing to me that a little greenery and chirping birds can instantly relax me and make me more alert.

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Muir Woods in Marin County, California

Turn your living room into a spa day or weekend

This is one of my favorite (and cheap!) ways to get away from reality. Turn your living room into a spa weekend complete with magazines, TV you need to catch up, face masks, yummy treats and drinks, and scented candles. Turn off your phone, paint your nails, and tune out.

Take a trip to a nearby town or city that you’ve always wanted to explore- new city = new adventures

Like I did with Provincetown, find a nearby town or city that you’ve always wanted to explore and either jump on the next train or drive down. If you have some extra cash, turn it into a weekend trip and find an airbnb to stay in. New cities are always fun to explore and you can disconnect with the problems and stress of the one you’re living in 🙂

Disconnect from technology and spend the day reading

One of the easiest ways to take a mini vacation is to turn off your phone, electronics, and WiFi in general, and spend the day catching up on reading (or writing). Make or buy a fancy coffee or tea beverage, sit, and enjoy the benefits of being alone. Vow not to check your phone or email for at least the day.

 What are some of your favorite mini vacations, dumplings?

Related vacation ideas: 10 Awesome Staycation Ideas

6 Essential Stress-free Travel Tips

Also by Karina: Savory Oatmeal for Cold Mornings

Warm Arugula Salad with Roasted Grapes

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Photo: Karina Alexander

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