Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 August 2010 14:36 Written by HeartMath Friday, 03 July 2009 08:46
Summer Vacation Stress – How to Beat It
Some dream of spending their days in sparkling water and of evening walks on the beach. Others anticipate the sights and sounds of a city, with great restaurants and art. Whether they plan to go away or stay at home, most hope for freedom from the “daily grind” and time for pleasure and relaxation.
Yet few vacations are devoid of stress. Arguments, fatigue and resentment can take a bite out of happy days and cast a shadow on the days that remain. The following questions can help you get a handle on vacation stress.
1. Are you being realistic in your planning? Talk with fellow travelers in advance about what each expects in terms of activities and rest time, then plan accordingly. Children aren’t the only ones who need to unwind between stimulating activities – adults need to as well.
2. Do you have “unscheduled time” in your schedule? Unscheduled time gives family members a chance to kick back and just do what they want to for a little while. Alone time is also important for some. It’s an opportunity to build a deeper connection with yourself.
3. Have you discussed finances? Most vacations involve lots of choices to make about spending money. Getting clear on your budget in advance and letting children know spending guidelines can take the anxiety out of this issue.
4. Are you communicating? Increased contact with family members during a vacation can bring conflict to the foreground. Someone may feel he is not getting to do what he really wants to do, while others need to learn to compromise or let another lead from time to time. Honest communication and sincere listening can result in real understanding of each others’ needs and solutions that bring more balance to the situation.
5. Bored in the car or plane? It’s a great time to talk about something you appreciate in each of your traveling companions. A simple activity you can do with your children is to take turns and have each person you’re traveling with share what they appreciate about someone from your group. Try to keep the tone of this activity fun but sincere. Sometimes it might be best for a parent to begin by sharing their genuine appreciation for one of the children so they can get a better feel for of the concept. This exercise can be fun and gives everyone a chance to express something positive about someone else that they may not have otherwise had an opportunity to share.
An excellent resource for parents is Teaching Children to Love: 80 Games and Fun Activities for Raising Balanced Children in Unbalanced Times, by Doc Childre. This book is chock-full of activities that support heart-based values like gratitude and appreciation. You can purchase the e-book through HeartMath’s online store. HeartMathStore.com
Copyright © 2008 HeartMath. Since 1991 HeartMath has been dedicated to decoding the underlying mechanics of stress. HeartMath is internationally recognized for their solutions to transform the stress of change and uncertainty, and bring coherence and renewed energy into people’s lives. Research and clinical studies conducted by HeartMath have examined emotional physiology, heart-brain interactions, and the physiology of learning and performance. Through their research they have demonstrated the critical link between emotions, heart function, and cognitive performance. HeartMath’s work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals such as American Journal of Cardiology, Stress Medicine, and Preventive Cardiology, as well as business journals such as Harvard Business Review and Leadership Excellence. HeartMath’s organizational clients include NASA, BP, Duke University Health System, Stanford Business School, Redken, Kaiser Permanente, Boeing, and Cisco Systems, as well as dozens of school systems and thousands of health professionals around the world. To learn more about HeartMath, go to www.heartmath.com.
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