You can’t always live in a hurry and under stress. Our brain needs to rest.
Today’s world is very competitive. In both work and personal life we have to be productive, efficient, correct, have a high performance, meet deadlines, face difficult situations, make decisions, show proactivity, renew ourselves, continually update ourselves….
All this induces a state of stress that, although initially drives us and motivates us to remain attentive and give the best of ourselves, if maintained continuously leads to a decrease in motivation, performance and enjoyment of the work activity that even induce a disorder such as burnout, anxiety disorders or depressive symptoms.
In order to avoid this, apart from other considerations, advice and the application of relaxation techniques such as breathing techniques, it is necessary to have periods of rest in which to relax both physically and psychologically and disconnect from everyday problems. In other words, a vacation is necessary.
The need for vacations
In this period of rest it is very useful to carry out recovery activities such as relaxation so that the individual can abstract and rest from the stressors that he/she has in his/her usual life.
Understood as a reward for the effort made, vacations are an element that reinforces self-esteem and self-concept, as well as preventing the appearance of stress and other disorders. It is a period in which we can do activities that we find pleasurable and for which we normally do not have the opportunity, temporarily leaving behind the responsibilities associated with the position, role or personal and social status.
Beneficial effects of rest
The fact of properly enjoying a vacation entails a large number of benefits. Firstly, in relation to the aforementioned stress, the holiday period helps to relax, repairing the body from the damage caused by increased cortisol and anxiety.
Likewise, a good rest produces a notable increase in creativity, which can give rise to the formation of new strategies and ideas that would not arise in a stressful environment. This is because during periods of rest the brain is not inactive, but only stops focusing on certain stimulation, activating many other areas of the psyche that are usually left aside.
In this sense, the mental unblocking produced by rest leads to an improvement in the capacity for judgment and decision making, enabling the complete analysis of the available information and subsequent decision making.
In addition, rest produces an increase in productivity and concentration, by reducing the intellectual blockage and the mental and physical slowing down typical of a continuous situation of stress. The latency of reaction to stimuli decreases, increasing performance and efficiency both during the recreational period and when returning to work.
Finally, rest causes the release of endorphins and the activation of neuronal reward circuits, stimulating the presence of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. All this produces a reduction of anxiety and negative thought patterns. In conclusion, vacations are a way to provoke happiness in those who are able to enjoy the vacation rest period.
Things to avoid that diminish the restorative effect of vacations
It is necessary to bear in mind that the simple fact of having a vacation is not in itself restorative, but that rest comes from the change of activities and ways of thinking compared to the usual situation. Thus, not everything goes, but some elements that hinder the true enjoyment of the holiday period should be taken into account.
In this sense, a common problem in the presence of vacations, especially if they are of short duration, is the excessive scheduling. There is often a tendency to make extensive lists of things to do or visit. It is worth bearing in mind that more quantity does not equal more quality, as saturating the time available can lead to even more stress.
Bedtime is also a frequent problem. It is common to see how individuals tend to go to bed according to a stipulated schedule in order to make the most of the time. Again, it should be remembered that the ultimate goal is to rest and enjoy oneself.
Another problem to avoid is the creation of a routine B (A being the daily routine). In this sense, the need to do things out of the ordinary, which do not involve a constant repetition of the same patterns present in everyday life, must be assessed.
Although the leisure period of the vacations should be enjoyed to the maximum, the economic aspect should not be forgotten. Unforeseen events are likely to arise. Also, the enjoyment should be carried out without falling into excesses, since a complete lack of control can cause health, economic and / or relational problems.
Recommendations to improve the quality of vacations
We have talked about some elements to avoid so that the mental regeneration produced by the vacation rest is not clouded. Let us now look at some basic recommendations to improve the latter.
The good thing about improvisation
Among all the recommendations, the main one is to have great flexibility. As already mentioned, the vacation period is full of possible unforeseen events, and no matter how well planned the needs of individuals may change. Being able to improvise and adapt to desires and possibilities is fundamental for an optimal experience of enjoyment.
Change your mindset
A second essential element is the fact of totally disconnecting from the normal routine. That is to say, it is necessary that before starting the holiday period everything is prepared so that the usual responsibilities do not interrupt (unless there is a major need) the rest.
Another important element is to dare to do new things, because it allows the acquisition of new points of view that can bring great changes to our life, increasing our creativity.
One more consideration that should be taken into account for those whose vacations are carried out in company is the recommendation to choose the activities to be carried out in a collaborative manner. This strengthens the bond between the subjects, while providing different perspectives that can help find better options for everyone.
Starting over: re-entry
The holiday break period has an end. Being aware of this fact and facing it can mean the difference between returning to daily life with energy and optimism and entering into a state of despondency before the return of obligations, popularly known as post-holiday syndrome.
In this sense, a progressive return to re-adapt to everyday life should be sought, returning home a few days earlier, for example, adjusting circadian rhythms to the usual schedule and in some cases, encouraging companies to allow a progressive re-entry. Likewise, when starting a vacation, it is important not to obsess about the time remaining until the end of the vacation, but to plan to take into account the fact that you are going to return in a specific period.