imagedb.com/ShutterstockVacations are meant to be relaxing, but they can also be downright stressful. Don’t get us wrong—we’re all for taking some much-needed R&R, but leaving the house to travel can be a huge source of anxiety (unless you use these tips for stress-free travel).
First of all, there’s the whirlwind of racing around the house gathering everything on your packing list and praying you didn’t forget everything. (If that sounds like you, find out how to pack a suitcase in 30 minutes or less.) But then, even after you leave, your mind starts running. Did you turn the thermostat down? Is the oven still on? When you know you won’t be home for several days, the consequences of a tiny oversight are way more serious than when you normally leave the house—and it’ll be days before you’re home to find out if there was anything to fear.
To ease your anxiety, Nicole Dieker of LifeHacker has a genius tip: Take a picture.
While you’re doing your once-over to make sure everything is turned off or unplugged, pull up your camera app. No, you don’t need to worry about pulling out tips for taking a postcard-worthy photo on your smartphone. Just take a quick snap of the “off” nobs on your oven, your unplugged coffee maker, and your adjusted thermostat. When you inevitably start stressing about what important thing you forgot, you’ll have picture proof that you did, in fact, cover all your bases. “I can think about how fun the vacation’s going to be, instead of mentally retracing my steps and hoping they paused in front of the stove,” Dieker writes.
The reminders will be there if you need them, but the best part is you probably won’t. Taking a picture could make you more mindful of what you did, so you’re more likely to remember checking. “The process of taking the photo is complex enough to stick in my memory—instead of giving my thermostats a quick glance, I’m pausing to frame the shot,” Dieker writes. So you’re already starting your trip off on a calm note.
Of course, accidents (like these home death traps) can still happen, no matter how careful you are. But even if there does happen to be a fire, break-in, or other random tragedy while you’re away, you’ll have photo evidence that it wasn’t from some silly oversight. So now you can breathe easy and use these other tips calm people use to avoid stress.