These 11 Tips Will Help You Feel Like You’ve Been On Vacation Even If You Haven’t

By Chelsea Babin

It’s summer and everywhere you look you’re seeing pictures, hearing stories, and generally being surrounded by details of great vacations. Not just a fun time, vacations and taking time off have been proven to improve your focus, your work performance, and your overall attitude. If you don’t have the opportunity to take a vacation or any time off this summer but still want to reap the work benefits of time off, these 11 tips will help you!

1. Out for Lunch: Breaks are often lauded as a necessity for productive work and an overall positive attitude throughout the workday. And, look at that, you have one scheduled for you in the middle of your lunch day! Make the most of your lunch break by getting active or getting a few moments of peace and quiet to help reboot your focus. When you go out for lunch with friend you tend to ignore your phone so, even on days when you aren’t heading out for a fun lunch with coworkers or friends, make sure your phone is far away from you. Turning off all thoughts of work during your lunch break will make it more effective in a shorter period of time.

2. Phone Free: If vacations are the only things that are capable of prying your phone away from you, you may have a problem. Dedicate yourself to a few tech-free hours each day or each week and you’ll notice how much your focus improves. You don’t need to go on a vacation to separate yourself from technology and increase your focus, you just need to be more mindful! Incorporate a few phone free or tech free times into your schedule and call it a tech vacation. Sure, it’s not as exciting as lounging on a beach somewhere but it will make you feel better and increase your work performance.

3. The Grass is Greener: Depending on where you live and your preferences, the summer weather may be wonderful or it may be miserable. Regardless, you need to make it a point to get outside and soak in some Vitamin D if you want that vacation-adjacent positive boost. Even spending a few minutes each day outside experiencing nature can do a lot to reenergize and renew your focus. A great time to do this is during early in the morning or on your lunch break so the rest of your workday can benefit from your renewed energy.

4. Nearby Attractions: You may not be able to take any time off this summer but you always have the weekends! Check out nearby towns to see what kinds of attractions they have and plan a few fun weekend excursions alone, with friends, or with your family. Whether it’s a day trip or an overnight adventure, these mini vacations can pack a great positive punch without requiring you to take time off from work.

5. Morning Routine Revamp: Vacations often reenergize us in incomparable ways but another thing you can do to reenergize is to shake up your morning routine. Whether you’re trying to work in more fitness, meditation, time outside, or time with your loved ones, try revamping your morning routine to include some of these reenergizing activities. You’ll be amazed at the difference between rushing to get ready in the morning and having something you look forward to doing every morning before you head into work.

6. Spare Time for Spontaneity: Some of the most memorable moments of any vacation are the spontaneous occurrences. Wandering an unfamiliar city and finding a favorite restaurant or trying a new activity and loving it instantly give you great inspiration and memories to hold onto for a lifetime. Who says you can’t have more of these moments? You don’t have to be on a vacation to embrace the spontaneous, you just need to use some of your spare time to break your routine and venture out of your comfort zone. Go somewhere in your hometown you’ve never been or try to cook a meal you’ve never made or take a long walk and rediscover your local scene. Whatever you do to embrace spontaneity, it will surely improve your work performance and give you great memories!

7. Plan Carefully: No, you don’t have to plan every last second of your time according to a meticulous schedule. That would completely contradict our previous point! Instead, take a careful approach to adding things to your planner. In order to have that built in spare time for spontaneity or relaxation you need to have ample time where you have nothing scheduled. Be more mindful of what extra tasks at home and at work that you agree to take on. Sometimes these can pile on and on until our schedules are packed with things we don’t really want to or need to do. Don’t let this happen to you! Being more careful and mindful when you’re making plans will let you have the time you need to have more fun and more relaxation.

8. Self Care: Taking time to take care of ourselves is, for whatever reason, way more difficult than it seems. But fitness, nutrition, sleep, maintaining relationships, and having down time all play a huge role in our work performance. When you’re on a vacation you feel like you have tons of extra time to focus on self care but that doesn’t mean you can’t implement more self care activities into your summer to spark the same positive feelings you’d get from a vacation. Make a few self care goals for yourself this summer and track your progress to improve your overall routine and feel better, not just at work, but in all aspects of your life.

9. Bonding Time: Family vacations or vacations with great friends are always popular. Why? Because they mix fun and relaxation with a chance to bond with the people you love who you may not get to see enough on a day-to-day basis. You may not have time to hop on a cruise or explore a far away city with your friends and family this year but you can make an effort to plan fun bonding activities with your local loved ones and have more regular Skype and phone chats with your distant loved ones. Making time to bond with your loved ones will boost your mood and you don’t need to all take a vacation together to do it!

10. Just for Fun: Side projects are great for learning new things, exploring different avenues, and stretching your imagination! However, a lot of people choose lofty side projects that they hope will become a second source of income or a great resume booster. If you’re passionate enough these side projects can feel like a vacation in and of themselves but, sometimes, you need to do things just for fun! Stretch your brain by learning something new that has nothing to do with your career. Stepping out of your comfort zone and working on a new skill that you have no experience with that’s always interested you will help you relax because it’s a low stakes task. If you don’t enjoy it, you don’t have to do it. If you’re no good at it but think it’s fun, it doesn’t matter! These kinds of side projects get your creative juices flowing and relax you on a more long-term basis than any vacation ever could.

11. Do Less So You Can Do More: When you’re staring at a schedule packed with things you don’t want to do it’s incredibly difficult to get started. One of the great things about a vacation is that you usually plan a ton of fun, exciting activities that get you pumped to start the day or, if you’re more of a relaxer than en explorer, you simply don’t do the everyday tasks that you hate and opt to lounge around instead. The freedom to completely rid your schedule of tasks you hate isn’t something you can directly translate into your every day life but you can certainly reduce them or schedule them so that you have one blissful day a week (usually on the weekend or another day you have off) free from any tasks you hate to do. Take that time to go on an adventure or relax, whichever you’d prefer, and you’ll feel like you’re on a mini vacation!

Whether work is piling up or you’ve chosen to use your vacation days during the off peak time, it’s hard not to be envious of other people’s awesome vacations during the summer when you aren’t taking one yourself. And with all of the positive effects that time off has on your work, you really feel like you could use a vacation right about now. If you’re unable to take time off don’t fret! These 11 tips will help you incorporate more fun and relaxation into your schedule and simulate the benefits of a vacation.