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Staying Mentally Sharp on Your Time Off: What to Do

  •  Taking regular time off can benefit both employees and employers.
  • Reading, puzzles and games, board games, and meditative exercises are great ways to stay mentally sharp while on vacation.
  • Reading can spark creativity and increase mental well-being.
  • Puzzles require careful analysis to improve problem-solving skills.
  • Meditative exercises help reduce stress levels and improve focus.

Taking a break from work is essential to both physical and mental health. Studies have shown that people who take regular time off are more productive, happier, and healthier than those who don’t. An estimated 92% of employees reported feeling better after taking vacation time.

In addition to the improved morale of employees when they take a vacation, research has also shown that it can also benefit employers. According to one study, companies with comprehensive vacation policies had higher employee retention rates than those without those perks. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that fully rested workers make fewer mistakes on the job, saving businesses significant money in wasted resources or re-training costs.

Finally, taking vacations has been linked to improved creativity and problem-solving abilities. Researchers have found that after taking a break, people’s minds can better identify patterns and make connections, leading to innovative solutions. This is because vacation time allows the brain to rest and reset, increasing creative thinking.

While vacations are ideal days for rest, you might want to do something that challenges you mentally. Here are a few ideas for activities that can get your mind working while still giving your body a break it needs.

Book Reading

Reading book for mental stimulation

Reading is an excellent way to stay mentally sharp, encouraging the mind to process new information and engage in critical thinking. Reading a book can also help you escape from reality for a while, giving your brain some much-needed time away from the stressors of everyday life. Additionally, reading can spark creativity and encourage you to think outside the box. Novels and nonfiction books alike educate us on topics we might not otherwise have been exposed to and can open our eyes to different perspectives on life.

A study by the Reading Agency found that even just a few minutes of reading a day can have immense mental health benefits. The study concluded that readers were more likely to feel relaxed, in control of their lives, and like they had achieved something by the end of their session than those who hadn’t read. Picking up a book, any book, can give your mind a break it needs while still keeping it active.

Puzzles and Games

Another way to stimulate your brain while on vacation is by playing puzzles or games. Those activities can help test and improve your mental understanding and challenge you to think in new ways. Such actions are also beneficial for enhancing problem-solving skills and memory recall.

Here are a few puzzles to consider:

Crossword puzzles

Monthly crossword puzzle magazine subscriptions are a great way to stay mentally sharp while on vacation. Doing crosswords can help you learn new words, increase your vocabulary, and improve your problem-solving abilities.

Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are fun and challenging to keep the brain active while on vacation. They require careful analysis of spatial relationships to find the right pieces and fit them together. This type of activity is also known to have calming effects on the mind, making it ideal for times when you need rest but don’t want to sit idle.


Sudoku is a great mental exercise for those who like numbers or math challenges. It encourages logical thinking and improves problem-solving skills. It can also help reduce stress and increase focus, making it an excellent choice for chill time on vacation.

Board games

Monopoly, scrabble, and other board games help you stay mentally sharp while on vacation. You can play them with family, friends, and even with strangers, which is a great way to meet new people and make connections that could last beyond the end of your break.

Meditative Exercises

attaining mental clarity from yoga

Sometimes, the best way to recharge on vacation is with a meditative exercise. Activities like yoga, tai chi, and qigong can help you relax, reduce stress, and improve focus. In addition, such practices can stimulate creativity by allowing your mind to wander freely in its thoughts.

Meditation doesn’t just have physical benefits, either; it can also mentally strengthen your resolve. A study conducted at Yale University found that regular meditation helped participants make better decisions by increasing their ability to focus on long-term goals rather than short-term incentives.

Final Thoughts

Vacation time can be an excellent opportunity to stay mentally sharp while getting the rest your body needs. Reading, puzzles and games, board games, and meditative exercises are just a few activities to keep your mind working while on vacation. With these suggestions, you can take full advantage of your time off without sacrificing mental clarity.


The Author

Amelia Brown

Amelia Brown is an enthusiastic writer and a devoted parent who believes in the transformative power of shared knowledge. With a strong background in education and a flair for storytelling, Amelia brings a unique perspective to Family Badge. As a hands-on mother of three, she knows the joys and challenges of parenting inside out. When she's not crafting engaging articles for the blog, Amelia enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her family, trying out new DIY projects, or cheering on her favorite sports teams. Her friendly and approachable style makes her an invaluable member of the Family Badge team, offering practical guidance and heartfelt insights to fellow parents on their journey of creating loving and thriving families.

About Family Badge


Family Badge inspires parents on the path to a thriving family life. Enhance your family's journey with practical tips and inspiration for creating a harmonious home, fostering educational growth, maintaining optimal health, managing finances, and enjoying quality recreation together.



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