By Amanda of Mouze Kateerz.com.
Vacations, which should be happy times with loved ones and friends, can be extremely stressful. Kids walk slow. Adults get cranky. It rains. Favorite rides break down. Plans have to be altered, meals have to be delayed, children get over stimulated and throw screaming tantrums in crowded gift shops. Lovers fight, parents nag, and teens whine. You have huge expectations regarding how your expensive and long-planned vacation should be, and when things go wrong, people start to stress out.
This can make your planning a bit easier.
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If you love photos as much as I do, and possibly you have grown irritated with how Facebook only allows you to see just 20% of what your favorite groups post unless they pay for advertisements, then you should join Pinterest. Recipes, inspirational quotes, photos, articles, you name it, and it’s on Pinterest. And so far, they show you everything anyone posts, or “pins.” (Your first stop? Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.)
I ran across the above photo “pinned” on Pinterest that had 10 ways to Stress Less, and I’ll expand upon those ideas a bit, because they can add greatly to your life, but more specifically, your next Disney vacation.
1. Dance It Out – Athletes are long famous for touting the benefits of walking, running and just getting your body moving for good health and stress relief. The Magic Kingdom has a stage in Tomorrowland, called Club 626, where the likes of Pluto, Goofy, and Stitch dance into the night with modern music infused with familiar Disney songs. Adults, teens and kids can all blow off some steam doing some dancing rather than standing in yet another roller coaster line. Shake your booty, wave your hands in the air, and feel the stress melt away, at least until you walk over to get in line at Space Mountain.
2. Go For A Walk – You will be walking a lot during every day you spend at Disney.
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Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever that can work in minutes. Taking a walk allows you to enjoy a change in scenery, which can take you into a totally different frame of mind, like from mad and stressed to calm and relaxed. The resorts at Disney are just fantastic. There is a big difference in your stress level walking down a packed out Main Street and taking a casual stroll through the landscaped and carefully manicured grounds of your resort. Now the level of resort beauty directly corresponds with the amount of money you paid for your accommodations. But this doesn’t mean you can’t take a deep breath and a walk around the deluxe resorts for top of the line walking relaxation.
3. Talk About It – You just stood in line 30 minutes to pick up burgers and fries, so now that you are seated, take a deep breath. Maybe take one more, and now talk to your traveling companions. Talk about your expectations for the day. Tell a joke. Say the calming words, “I love you.” Even if you don’t exactly mean it at the time, you just might after you hear yourself say it.
Standing in line for hours a day can actually be a fabulous place to talk to your kids about life, the upcoming return to school, and perhaps what stresses them. Many an upcoming vacation to Disney has been planned right in a roller coaster line.
4. Breathe – Yoga practitioners know the power of a cleansing breath. About.com offered some specific instructions for those not presently occupying a yoga mat at class. “Take a deep, cleansing breath, expanding your belly and keeping your shoulders relaxed, and hold it in for the count of six. Exhale, and repeat twice more. Then breathe normally, and focus your attention on your breathing. As you breathe, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, still expanding your belly rather than moving your shoulders up and down.”
Take a deep breath, count to three, and then speak. Chances are, that cleansing breath combined with some time to think clearly can help you avoid making stressful situations even worse by saying something you can not erase in the future.
5. Go to Bed Earlier – This can be a tough one on vacation, especially in the summer at Disney, because it’s not 105 degrees at night in Orlando, it’s actually a very pleasant 70 degrees. So how about just try to get adequate amounts of sleep on vacation. Throw in a nap, even if you have to sneak it in during a show or movie. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your ability to handle stress, be productive, and function properly. If you plan to be at the parks first thing in the morning, plan to get a good nights sleep.
6. Focus on What You Can Control – What makes the top of my list for the most irritating and stressful ride at Walt Disney World? Toy Story Midway Mania, because I have no control over the wait. It seems to be out of my control that my family never wakes up early enough to get a FASTPASS, so I walk by the ride and instantly feel stressed because I can’t get on it!
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You have control over your body, your person, and that’s really it. You can’t control the weather, your traveling companions, Cast Members, your kid’s behavior, wait times, ride break downs, etc. When things go wrong, as they will in life, take that deep breath and remember you can only have control over yourself. Grin and bear it, because good times are just around the corner in the Happiest Place on Earth.
7. Reminisce About Good Times – Standing in that long line, ask your husband if he remembers the last time you stood there in the rain when it was 40 degrees. Ask you child if he or she remembers the last time they stood in the same spot, but holding a beloved Mickey Mouse doll they purposely left at home for this trip. Ask your wife is she remembers dropping that ice cream cone in her lap on the train. At dinner, talk about your last trip and how much fun you had being together.
Conversations don’t even have to be about Disney; pick a good time you remember and talk about it. Don’t argue, nag or provoke fights, because these just bring on heaps of stress. Just talk about good times.
8. Ask For a Hug – Hugging someone can reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, which are classic signs of stress. Is your husband not thrilled he’s back at Disney, again? Hug him, and tell him thanks he brought you back, again. Child struggling to maintain composure among the Disney crowds and varied environment from home? Hug that child, and say some soothing words of comfort.
A website called Natural Health and Energy reported research from Tiffany Field, of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, on how touch lowers the output of cortisol, a stress hormone. When cortisol dips, there’s a surge of two “feel good” brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, which as Ms. Fields indicated, all make you feel less stressed out.
By hugging someone, you’ll make your traveling companions feel better, and de-stress yourself at the same time. Go on, give ’em a hug!
9. Look For Opportunities in Life’s Challenges – You can look for hidden Mickey’s in a long line. You can eat a nice sit down meal if a random thunder storm pops up. Theme parks are packed out? Head over to Downtown Disney for some fantastic shopping, or tour some of the resorts for a break from the overwhelming and stressful park crowds.
If you go to Disney at Christmas, you will experience more stress than usual, so you had better be prepared to deal with it when you get there.
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10. Smile – One thing I love about Disney over all other theme parks I have visited is that the vast majority of their staff seems to smile, a lotm frequently way more than me. Smiles disarm and relax people. Smiles raise your mood and make the people around you feel happy.
About.com says that sometimes, when it comes to smiling, you may have to just fake it. Just as studies show the positive effects of smiling occur whether the smile is fake or real, faked laughter also provides those same benefits. The body can’t distinguish between ‘fake’ laughter that you just start doing on purpose, and ‘real’ laughter that comes from true humor. It seems the physical benefits are exactly the same, and the former quite often leads to the latter anyway. So smile more, and fake laughter. This was you will still achieve positive effects, and the pretend happiness and laughter may lead to real smiles and true fun.
Be sure you don’t make these mistakes on vacation, because they can wipe the smile right off your face.
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Vacations can be loads of fun while you create magical memories with friends and family. But we all set out for Orlando with preconceived notions about how our vacations should go, about how much value we are getting for our money, about how those traveling with us should act. Use these ten ways to take the stress out of your next vacation, and you’ll find yourself taking a deep breath…and planning your next trip!
Amanda of Mouze Kateerz.com.
Visit Amanda at Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.
You will also find her articles on Meet the Magic.com.