The peak season for travelling in Summer has just passed, but to Hongkongers, anytime is a good time to go on a trip. Travelling is certainly an effective prescription to de-stress, for instance, a long-haul flight offers hours of tranquility to slow down our pace of life. Many of us believe a vacation must be taken overseas whereas a walk in the countryside will suffice to relieve an exhausted mind in the west. One may argue that Hong Kong is too small a place to escape from the hustle and bustle. But if you don’t have the budget to travel overseas, do consider sightseeing in the suburbs you’ve never been to, joining a city-guided tour or visiting a museum for a temporary relief.
Set a time limit for work on a trip
The purpose of travelling is to do something different from our daily routine. For better de-stress results, remember to be fully committed to your trip and try not to bring your work along. Some would take their laptops with them, check office emails habitually or stay abreast of the happenings in social media, doing things on a trip no different than a typical working day in Hong Kong. How does that help with stress reducing? Do leave behind your work! If it’s not possible, set a time limit for it, say you only work after you wake up in the morning or when you get back to your hotel room in the evening, and stay away from your laptop for the rest of the day.
A trip without an itinerary
Some are fond of ‘real-time reports’ by posting photos or live streaming during their trip. Does that really help preserve your holiday memories or is it just a way to show off? We don’t need to race against time like reporters do, so share your photos or videos only after your trip to keep the vacation vibe going. Besides, don’t jam-pack your itinerary with activities. If you try too hard to check all the boxes, it would become a chore rather than an experience and you would be worn out afterwards.
Adjust your pace before a new start at workplace
Try to do only one thing a day during your trip and let your mood call the shots for the rest of the day where an improvised route could be filled with surprises. Also, relax and take time to experience what a different place has to offer, rather than browsing as many things as possible in a hurry. If you see the place, the people and the happenings from different perspectives, they would become invaluable memories exclusive to you. Still remember the trip where you spent most of your time buying souvenirs or looking for beauty products for friends and relatives, and felt the pressure when you couldn’t finish the checklist? Don’t travel for others! Feel what you get from the trip while you’re at it.
Understandably, work stress may build up again once you flight lands in Hong Kong. If you don’t want to lose your holiday mood abruptly, adjust your pace gradually by taking a full day or half-day off after your return or handling easier jobs on your first day back at work. A striking contrast of your pace of life could do more harm than good in reducing stress.
Dr. Li Chi Kwan, Carole
Registered Clinical Psychologist