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Get a handle on your vacation
Posted: July 20, 2011
Last Updated: July 20, 2011

Vacations are supposed to be the time you relax from the stress of daily life. Vacations can be the perfect time to take a break from the daily grind for a wonderful adventure. Unfortunately, for many people, vacations can be the most stressful experience of the year due to late flights, traffic clogged freeways, and upset family members who can’t take one more-minute together in the car. This year try to take a few simple steps to make your vacation stress free and enjoyable for everyone who joins you, no matter where you are headed to find some much needed rest and relaxation.

 

Balance Your Time

Overbooked vacations can be the worst experience of any trip. Forced to rush from one tourist attraction to another can cause endless complaining, upset companions, and crying children for even with the best families. To stem the tears and complaints, try to balance your time by scheduling one ‘free day’ for every ‘planned day.’ Also, you can schedule a half day of ‘planned activities’ and a half day of free time. Free time cuts stress levels and gives people an opportunity to truly relax.

 

When visiting a big city or large attraction schedule an extra day to wander the area. A basic city tour on the first day can give you a glimpse at all the sites you may be interested in visiting later at your leisure.

 

For any attraction double the time you originally planned. This will help ease any rushed feelings and allow you to linger at places that capture your interest. If you are traveling with your family or children, make sure to triple the time to allow for little feet that can’t walk as fast as adults or some much needed rest in the afternoon. Allowing free time and ample rest is essential for the relaxation people seek on vacations.

 

Nutrition

In the rush of playing tourist, many people forget to eat on vacation. Instead of a healthy meal families will munch on fast food in between destinations. Small children (not to mention adults) need to stick to their usual eating times when on vacation. It keeps blood sugar levels normal. Skipped or late meals can make blood sugar plummet along with attitudes. Low blood sugar can cause grumpiness, fatigue, and even crying jags in children.

 

If possible keep meal times the same, and pack healthy snacks like fruit for the trip instead of chips or cookies that can cause blood sugar to spike. Instead of stopping at the convenience store connected to the gas station, make a quick stop at the local grocery store for healthy alternatives to soda or candy. Plan activities around meal times, instead of during meal times to allow everyone to eat without feeling rushed, which can cause indigestion.

 

Meltdowns

Even adults can suffer from a stress induced bout of tears, frustration or upset. Remember that small children aren’t used to constant action and adventure. When a meltdown happens, no matter what the age of the afflicted, calm down—don’t get sucked into the upset. Find out what’s wrong, talk it out, and be willing to sit down and take a moment to regroup. Meltdowns, in children and adults, can be cause by heat exhaustion, low blood sugar, or expectations exceeding reality. Sometimes a rest stop, drink, healthy snack and small talk can do wonders for the attitude of everyone involved in the vacation.

 

Check Before

Call the local chamber of commerce or attractions before you visit. They can offer great information on opening times and highlights. Feeding times at zoos, special performances, and even free concerts all occur throughout the summer in many locations and cities. Check before you go to find out all the possibilities you might miss. Plus all tourist sites (states, cities, even foreign countries) have wonderful information on local tours and guides, special events, and other lodging options like private homes or bed and breakfasts that can be very affordable.

 

Spontaneity

The best memories are usually the unplanned ones on vacation. Take time to visit that attraction you were going to pass by, stop at the roadside to stretch your legs, step into a shop that looks interesting, and take a moment to enjoy the view. You went on vacation to see the world, take a minute to appreciate it!

 

An ice cream cone after a hot day in the car or a few minutes wandering the boardwalk can be the ones that are fondest to your family years later.


To learn how to get a handle on your family vacations call Border Area Mental Health Services. To reach Border Area Mental Health Services in Grant and Hidalgo Counties, call 388-4412; in Catron County, call 533-6649; in Luna County, call 546-2174.  For CRISIS, call 538-3488 or outside Silver City, call 1-800-426-0997.

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© 2008 by Border Area Mental Health Services and Putting the Web to Work. Front-page photo copyright by Bob Pelham, Pinos Altos Cabins, and used by permission. All rights reserved. For the privacy and comfort of our clients and staff, the photographs used in this site are representative and do not show specific individuals associated with BAMHS.