You spend a lot of your time planning quarterly meetings, booking appointments, and arranging your day-to-day life; why not plan your ultimate vacation as well?

When you’re completely overwhelmed by the amount of work on your plate, I find that planning a vacation offers incredible benefits for your mental health, including reduced stress and a happier state of mind. By planning early, and giving yourself something to look forward to in the coming months, you may be better equipped to tackle the demands of everyday life.

Here’s how planning your next vacation can boost your mental health, and keep you inspired during the months preceding your vacation time.

A better sense of wellness

In my decades of experience, I’ve spoken to many students and employees about how difficult it can be to maintain perspective during busier times of the year. When you’re working to meet your deadlines, you can occasionally forget that you need time to reset, relax, and enjoy more of your time with family, friends, and loved ones.

Although I talked about what unplugging from the virtual world can do for you in my previous blog, planning for a relaxing getaway can put you in a better frame of mind. If you focus on something positive, and on something that you can look forward to, you may feel less like you’re “going through the motions” and are instead working towards something positive in your future.

Physical health benefits

Planning a vacation doesn’t just facilitate better mental health: it has incredible benefits for your physical health as well. Since preparing for a vacation can reduce stress, you may experience some of the health benefits associated with decreased stress levels, including cardiovascular health benefits, lower blood pressure, and increased cognition.

I know how difficult it can be to decompress, especially when your work and personal life become hectic. However, if you start to feel like the burdens of everyday life are becoming too cumbersome, I recommend sitting back, taking a deep breath, and taking a look at some of your favourite travel destinations. Even if you’re not able to take a vacation in the near future, planning your dream vacation can still do wonders for your mental and physical health.

Planning ahead is key

Although the summer is often ideal for many individuals looking to book vacation time, I find that the cooler autumn weather offers a regenerative alternative in planning the perfect getaway. While everyone else is scrambling to find time to get to the cottage, booking for the fall will not only ensure that you’ll have a better chance of getting that time away, it can also give you something exciting to look forward to after the summer is over.

Even if you’re a student, “fall break” is the perfect time to plan for a brief getaway. Many institutions in Ontario are ensuring that students have the opportunity to take a break during October, which I believe is a big step in facilitating better mental health initiatives for students. If you’re a student, and you’re in a position to plan for a vacation during the first semester, I highly recommend taking advantage of it.

Planning for your vacation, whether it’s your dream getaway, or a brief holiday to relax and reset, is an excellent way to decompress and recharge your focus into something you’ll enjoy. For more tips on how you can use vacation planning as a way of inspiring better mental health habits, contact your Student Assistance Program or Employee Assistance Program provider today.