I’ve been counting down our spring break trip to Hawaii since January. I’m not kidding– on the January page of our calendar, Siri and I actually wrote the numbers “85, 84, 83….”, numbers that made us both sigh and snuggle down into her bed. It was fun to dream about, even though it was a long way off.

Siri and Quincy into some Hawaiian shave ice

Siri and Quincy settle into some Hawaiian shave ice

Just thinking about Hawaii’s turquoise waters, warm night air, and palm trees makes me happy. Hawaii is where our family goes to play. And it’s where Andy and I go to recover from the stress in our lives.

That said, when I’m actually in Hawaii, I often find myself struggling to unwind. For the first few days, I’m still hung up with Telluride worries. And despite my best intentions, I find myself checking my email too often. Eventually, I unwind. The sun and salt water work out the kinks, and I relax.

But I’m often wondering if there’s a way to relax faster. Is there a way I can ditch my high-paced self earlier on in the vacation? How can I achieve that peaceful groove throughout the entire break?

Expert on happiness, Gretchen Rubin of the book and blog The Happiness Project, offers the following tips for relaxing on vacation.

1.    Sleep. We tend to pack in too much on vacation and short ourselves on sleep. Rubin advises adhering to bedtimes. This is as important for adults as it is for kids. One study shows that getting an extra hour of sleep a night over time can make people happier than getting a $60,000 raise. Vacation is a great time to get started on the right track to getting more sleep.
2.    Fun. Is it possible for the whole family to have fun? Rubin argues yes. Carve out time to do what’s fun for you, whether it’s reading, biking or cooking. If you’re having fun, you’ll have more fun with the group.
3.    The Good with the Bad. Rubin proposes checking an easy task off your to-do list while on vacation. She suggests that doing something irksome like cleaning up your computer’s desktop or editing family photos can actually heighten your fun. Just remember not to pick too big of a chore.
4.    Technology. Turn it off? Gretchen Rubin has decided that she likes staying connected while on vacation. For me, staying connected is a roadblock to relaxation. I’m determined to turn off my computer and turn on the world during this vacation.

Here’s hoping you can do the same on your next trip. Do you have tips for unwinding on vacation?  Post them here.

Andy and Siri bury themselves in at Beach 69

Andy and Siri bury themselves in at Beach 69



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