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Ask Dr. Leigh …

Ask Dr. Leigh

Because vacations reduce your stress level, refresh and re-energize you, and help you stay connected to the ones you love, they actually help protect your health1. As a physician, I’m all about that. I will be answering your questions to assist you in removing any barriers for taking regular vacations.

Q: I really want to go on vacation but I don’t have anyone to go with me. Do you have any suggestions on how I can have a great vacation on my own?

A: Traveling on your own can be fun! It certainly makes planning easier; you can do whatever you want and have some quality time for yourself. Instead of resorts filled with families and couples in remote locations think about cosmopolitan cities that have a multitude of varied and stimulating activities. Take advantage of any group activities at your destination, such as bike tours or historic tours. Make sure you are safe while on vacation too; let family and friends as well as hotel staff know your itinerary, even for day trips. When venturing out at night, check with the hotel staff to ensure that you are heading to the safe venues and stay connected via cell phone. You will find that traveling solo can be a great confidence booster too!

Q: I love vacations but flying makes me a little anxious. Do you have any suggestions to make it less stressful?

A: According to the National Institute of Mental Health 6.5% of the population have a true fear of flying called aviophobia. However many of us are just a little anxious because flying is something that is totally out of our control. Often our anxieties are not based in reality or common sense; instead we become preoccupied with the “what ifs.” That is why it is important to keep yourself distracted - watch a movie, read a book or do a crossword puzzle. Try to avoid caffeine since this can exacerbate nervousness and anxiety. Listen to peaceful and calming music, meditate or use biofeedback with deep breathing to relax. And remember your chances of being involved in an aircraft accident are approximately 1 in 11 million; you have a greater chance of being hurt in an automobile accident.

Do you have challenges associated with planning or going on vacations? I want to help you remove the barriers and stressors that prevent you from taking regular vacations, because I believe so strongly that vacations are good for your health.

E-mail me at vacationdoctor@diamondresorts.com and I may answer your question on a future blog post.

1 Nielsen Study, December 2013