Antistress Vacations

It's vacation time. Do you know where you are going? Another visit to see relatives? Another cross-country drive with six people in the minivan? Another trek from one tourist attraction to the next?

If your vacation stresses you out just thinking about it, you are missing the point of a vacation. Vacations are for relaxation and renewal, a purposefully fulfilling break from your regular routine. Make the most of your vacation weeks to super-power your stress management. Consider any of these antistress vacation ideas:

  • One man's cruise … Some people live for their next cruise vacation. For others, being stuck on a boat with a bunch of strangers sounds anything but relaxing. But today's cruises come in all shapes and sizes. Check with your travel agent if you like the idea of hitting the open sea.

  • The spa. If you want to be treated to a truly tranquil experience and you don't mind the price tag, visit one of the world's spas. Spa vacations are luxurious and offer everything from healthy cuisine and massages to meditation sessions, spirituality programs, yoga classes, and hikes to breathtaking vistas.

  • The nature experience. If you are relaxed and renewed by nature, consider one of the many nature experience vacations. These vacations involve varying levels of physical activity in interesting natural places all over the world, from California to Tibet, from Colorado to the Alps.

  • The tropics. If relaxing on the beach is your idea of a stress-free vacation, then go for it. Beaches rim the continent. You can even cross the ocean and vacation on a tropical island (Aruba, the Bahamas, Hawaii … ). Let yourself bask.

  • The extreme vacation. Basking's not your style? The extreme vacation is an increasingly popular concept involving the training in and executing of some kind of extreme sport such as sky diving, parasailing, hang gliding, or mountain climbing. If that's your idea of a good time — and intense athletic activity is certainly an excellent way to learn mental focus — then go for it! (Just be careful!)

  • The don't-tell-anybody-but-we're-staying-home vacation. Who says you have to leave the comfort of your own home just because you aren't going to work? Sometimes, the most relaxing vacation is the one that you don't take. Staying home means you can catch up on all those nagging, stress-inducing chores you need to finish; you can sleep in a little longer than usual; you don't have to spend the money associated with a vacation; and you won't have to deal with traveling, time changes, money exchanges, traveler's checks, or not being able to speak the language. If you don't tell anybody you're staying home, you'll have more freedom than ever. You can learn to appreciate your own home more than ever if you spend your vacation in it. It's not against the rules!

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