Sometimes you need to get away, but you don’t have the time or money. Don’t despair: Amental vacation can help reduce your stress.

Little stressors can quickly add up to major stress and one big stressful occasion can send you reeling, with no thought of how to start addressing it. If you could just get away for a little stress relief, you know you would be okay. But too few of us have the time — or the money — to keep running off on an impromptu vacation.

Well, you don’t need to spend a dime or go anyplace other than a peaceful spot nearby to take a mental vacation.

Stress Relief: Take Off on a Mental Vacation

If you don’t find a way to reduce stress, your health will pay the price, both rationally and physically. It’s not important to get a lengthy massage or head to a beach to relax — you can unwind each day in simple ways and still get a major advantage.

“Individuals who are under a lot of stress have physical issues related to constantly being under stress,” says Sally R. Connolly, a social worker and therapist at the Couples Clinic of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. “And if you don’t find ways [to relieve it], even in small periods of time, you can have long-term consequences.” It’s crucial to add stress relief to your everyday routine, she says.

Connolly suggests learning methods to reduce stress and trying to sneak in one or two every day. “Even if it’s five minutes in the morning and five minutes around evening time, just find time to do that,” she says.

Stress Relief: Six Quick Mental Trips

Envisioning a stress-free place and other relaxation strategies are quick and simple ways to help your entire body calm down and give you just the boost you need to get on with your day. Connolly suggests these six ways for you to slip away on a mental vacation to reduce stress:

Read a book in bed.

Connolly says this is the best escape and can leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to face whatever is outside your bedroom door. Your bed is warm, cozy, comfortable, and a peaceful place for you. It feels luxurious, and getting lost in a good book is a perfect approach to forget, then refocus, your own thoughts.

Visualize relaxation.

Steal some quiet moments to close your eyes and think of an image that relaxes you —, for example, the warm sun on your skin and the sound of the ocean, a big country field sprinkled with flowers, or a trickling stream. Connolly suggests thinking back to a time when you felt quiet and relaxed, and focus on releasing the pressure from your toes to your head.

Look at pictures from a joyful time.

Connolly suggest pulling out snapshots from a photograph collection of a family vacation or a fun dinner with friends. Think about your memories of that event, and what made it so enjoyable. Spend some quiet and calm moments reminiscing, and you’ll find yourself more relaxed.

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