And just like that, the days have become longer and hotter, and we're in the midst of summer. In what seems like the blink of an eye, it's already July and workers across the nation are likely noticing that this summer doesn't feel quite like usual. Typically, at this point in the summer, workers have already been on a vacation or are preparing to leave for one in the coming weeks. The coronavirus has changed this for many of us as it poses a health risk to travel. Many workplaces have been so disrupted by the pandemic that taking time off for vacation seems nearly impossible. But not being able to travel and/or take extended time off from work doesn't mean you can't take a break! Here are five tips for ensuring you get the time you need to decompress, even if you can't take a long vacation:

  1. Build time into your day for minibreaks. Set aside a few ten to fifteen-minute slots during your workday to take a break. When that time hits, get up and physically move yourself to a different place. Go outside and listen to music, read a few pages of a book, or pull up your favorite podcast. You can even walk to a quiet place like a park where you can sit on a bench and meditate.
  2. Completely disengage from work when the workday is over. Once you've put in your hours for the day, be done! Turn your computer or phone off completely and refuse the urge to keep checking your inbox. It helps to end your workday with a walk around the block or an exercise session to signal the transition.
  3. Treat the weekends as daycations. Even if you can't go to a museum or a community festival due to COVID-19 restrictions, you don't have to remain pent up. While fully resting on the weekends is imperative to healthy work-life balance, active leisure has been proven to result in more positive moods than simply sitting around watching TV. Go to your local park and fly a kite with the kids or go on a drive and have a picnic. Weekend daycations can go a long way!
  4. Change your scenery. This can be as simple as swapping your computer background or adding a plant to your desk. You can even go for a total rearrange of your workspace, whatever suits you! If you are working from home, move yourself to a different room, perhaps by a window. Add a diffuser to your office space. Mint and citrus scents can help perk you up, lavender can reduce stress, and tropical scents may at least help you feel like you're away on vacation even if you aren't!
  5. Switch up your routine. If you usually eat lunch at your desk, try eating in a different place‚ even if it's only a room away. If you typically workout in the evening, try doing a morning workout instead. Simple routine adjustments can make you feel brand new!

Even if you can't take a full vacation this summer, the tips above will help to give you the rest, relaxation and refresh you need!