I can't count the number of times friends have suggested to me that I need a vacation. While I'm inclined to agree, the truth is that the nature of my work is that research questions tend to try to fill any moment where my mind is not already thinking of something else. So the idea of me going on "vacation" is just as much mental for me as it is physical. To me a vacation is a way of relaxing to the point where I'm either thinking of positive thoughts or I've at least found a way to not think about whatever negative thoughts are trying to get me down. So here are a few ways that I take my "vacations".
Conversations, though are not without their limitations. One of the problems with conversations is that you don't really know where they'll lead (I guess thats a good thing and a bad thing). Sometimes a joke is misinterpreted; sometimes the other person will just want to vent (which isn't really a problem, unless you entered the conversation with a "no venting here" attitude); sometimes they want to vent about something you did (which can be really unpleasant, and probably not gonna provide that "vacation" type feeling); or sometimes they're (or you're) just not in a talkative mood. So if talking to a friend won't do it, what else is there?