Thursday, June 23, 2011

5 More Secrets for Surviving a Family Vacation

Family vacations can definitely be a challenge, but Gretchen Rubin found 10 strategies that help keep that time enjoyable. In the article below Gretchen writes about how to take charge of a family vacation and have fun at the same time. The following are tips 6 -10:

6. Tackle one irksome task on vacation. Some interesting studies suggest that interrupting a pleasant experience can intensify a person's overall pleasure. As a consequence, I try to assign myself one annoying chore to tackle while on vacation; on Gretchen's last vacation, she worked on updating her address list, a boring, time consuming chore that she'd been putting off for months.  Being away from her usual work routine made her feel relaxed, and completing one irksome task gave her the feeling of having earned time to goof off.

7. Allow yourself to overpack (when possible).  People may disagree with Gretchen about the happiness-boosting qualities of overpacking, and this strategy doesn't work if you're hiking or doing lots of moving around.  It's a luxury just to toss a bunch of stuff in the suitcase, but when you can, do.  A simple problem, like not having a bandage handy, can turn into a major hassle when you're away from home.

8. Make peace with technology.  The fact is, Gretchen has much more fun when her e-mail and Internet service are working; otherwise, she brood about it an spend a lot of time trying to get connected.  So she made getting service a priority.  Other people want to disconnect completely; that''s fine, too.  Just recognize whether connection or disconnection will make the vacation experience as pleasant as possible for you and plan accordingly.

9. Be grateful. Because of the psychological phenomenon of the "negativity bias," we're all more sensitive to negative events and thoughts than to positive ones.  It's so easy to get annoyed by the broken air conditioner, by the traffic, by the fact that she packed for 80 degree weather when it turns out we'll be in 50 degree weather. By mindfully focusing on feelings of gratitude and enjoyment, you keep yourself in a happier frame of mind.  Also, if anyone on a family vacation is getting on your nerves (yes, it has been known to happen!), by focusing on reasons to feel grateful to that person, you help squelch emotions like annoyance and resentment.

10. Go ahead and unwind. Perhaps the most important tip for a family vacation is remember to take a vacation! Especially given the technology these day, it's tempting to have a change of scenery and call it a vacation.  But a vacation really means taking a break from work and routine. Have fun, enjoy the moment, and let yourself relax.


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