The mind needs rest. The body needs rest. The soul needs rest. Vacation, in other words. A time away from the busy cares of your day-to-day life, the extreme schedules, the hubbub of city life, the noise and chaos that accompanies living in close quarters with your fellow human beings. Who doesn’t go to work on a Monday and sometimes wish it was still Sunday?

It’s time for this blogger to take a little vacation, change environments, rest and reinvigorate with exposure to nature, new sights, and new people. If you’re thinking that sounds nice, but also thinking you can’t afford it right now, think again. The cost of illness is high, and illness results from unremitting stress. Chronic pressure and strain are wearing to the brain, heart, blood vessels, and gut.

Carving out time for yourself, a “stay-cation,” can be just as effective as heading for the beach in Mexico or touring through Europe. How to make it work though? Like any vacation, it requires advance planning. Clear your schedule of all routine obligations. Stop the mail and the newspaper. Put up automated absence messages on all your e-mails, and on your outgoing voicemail. Do not fill up your schedule with doctor’s appointments, car repairs, or housework. Do a little research on your town and visit the top ten tourist attractions; chances are, if you live there, you’ve never bothered to visit. Plan a special restaurant meal to mark the commencement of your vacation. Sleep in. Wake up without an alarm. Have a day without a plan. Spend time in nature. Take advantage of the last few weeks of summer and visit a public pool or beach during the week when it’s not crowded. Take off your wristwatch and leave it at home.

Enjoy the feeling of relief you have given yourself.