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The reality that summer is at its halfway point can hit hard during the hot days of July. Many of us find ourselves looking back at the last two months wondering where the time went and worrying that we haven’t capitalized on this preciously short season — especially if it hasn’t included a big vacation. But not to worry, because there’s weekends all year long, which means that 2018 can be even more fulfilling than years with traditional trips.Extended weekends and short getaways have similar physical and psychological benefits of longer vacations. You’re still able to enjoy the feelings of escaping stress or mundane routines, then feel ready to return to work and everyday life feeling rejuvenated. The obvious benefit of mini-vacations is that we can take them more frequently, perhaps even routinely.“There are three different pleasures that can come from vacations. First is the anticipation of the trip before you go, second is the actual experience and third is the reminiscing, or the memories. So, if you think about taking multiple mini-vacations throughout the year, you can recreate all three of these pleasures many times,” Central Wyoming Counseling Center CEO Joe Forscher said.We’d all like to have more balance and less stress in our lives. A three day camping trip where you’ve escaped from civilization is probably going to be much more restorative than a week long resort stay where you’re constantly checking your phone. When you get back, you feel productive and ready to work, and by making these trips regular, the next one is always on the horizon.And if we’re able to keep our mini-vacation itinerary short, we’re likely to enjoy the experience even more, Forscher says. “Focus on a prime directive, so make one thing the center of your trip. First, ask yourself what your goal is. Do you want to relax? Do you want to be entertained? If you’re going to Cheyenne to see a rodeo, focus on the rodeo and everything else is secondary. Leave your laptop at home, and really soak in that rodeo to get everything you can out of it. It will make both the actual experience and the memories of it much better,” he said.Here in Wyoming, we’re fortunate to have dozens of getaway opportunities within driving distance for all families with all interests. If the mountains are calling, submerse yourself in the wonders of Yellowstone or the Big Horns. Or if you need a city fix, Fort Collins offers many of the same shopping and restaurant experiences of Denver without the traffic. For something even closer to home, Casper and its surrounding areas like Alcova Reservoir and Casper Mountain feature stunning scenery and inexpensive travel.Planning vacation time and budget around smaller, shorter getaways rather than one long trip means that you and your family will have more to look forward to throughout the year while experiencing similar benefits over a much longer time period. For more guidance on balancing work, family and the rest of life’s challenges, schedule an appointment with Central Wyoming Counseling Center today at 307.237.9583.