How to Take a Brief Vacation

Life always pushes and pulls us in many directions. Between work, school, kids, friends, family, obligations to the community, etc, it’s hard to find the time to slow down in both body and mind. Research has shown that the fast pace of today’s society can make us overwhelmed, exhausted, lacking creativity, and like we have little left to give.

Do you ever feel so distressed that you have to leave the environment that’s making you stressed? By briefly removing yourself from an overwhelming environment or activity, you tend to feel better. You may not realize it, but you’re employing a DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) skill called “brief vacation.”

A brief vacation does not need to be an actual trip. It can be a brief respite from your regular routine. Brief vacation reminds us to take a break from our stressors. The idea is to stop actively managing your life for a brief amount of time (perhaps 15 minutes to two hours?). Instead, take the time to retreat into yourself or take care of yourself by relaxing.

Brief Vacation means slowing things down—allowing time for exploring, thinking, learning, or just being present in the moment. Maybe spend time outside with family or read a magazine on the porch. You can go for a walk, step away from the computer for a while, or do something creative. The benefits of taking a full day off or even getting an hour alone can make you feel recharged and get clearer in mind and relaxed in your body.

Here’s a challenge for you: come up with a list of five things that you would spend your time doing if you gave yourself a “brief vacation.” Think about things that you enjoy doing, that relax you, or that you used to do and really want to try again. You could write them on a post-it note or make a list in the notes app on your phone. Keep this list with you so that when you hit the point when you say, “I just need a break,” you have ideas handy. Don’t forget about your list, and maintain some “brief vacation” time in your routine.

Use “Brief Vacation” to take a break from your stressors for a while. This skill is all about having fun and breaking out of the day-to-day routine. Even planning out a 30-minute break on a daily basis can be more beneficial than you’d think. Having consistency with this technique will help to support your clarity of mind and balance in your life.