Who doesn’t love a proper holiday? An escape from work, with plenty of time to switch off and de-stress. But more often than not, that lovely empty-stress-bucket feeling is short-lived with it all going back to normal within a few hours of being at work. So, make your holiday count – and avoid that post-holiday blues!
So many people book a two-week holiday abroad to get a break from their anxiety and stress. And although it can help in the short term, there is so much more you can do to make the most of your holiday.
If you want to return from your holidays calmer and more resilient, here’s how to do just that!
1. Read plenty of fiction
Reading fiction has been proven to help you improve your empathy, critical skills and even protect against depression. I particularly love the solution-focused aspect of reading fiction.
It allows your imagination to wander and focus away from your problems. In the background, your default mode network engages and it really gets to work on the big issues of your life. Even better, it empties your stress bucket at the same time.
So ditch the business and self-help books on your next holiday. Instead, pick up the latest best-seller at the airport and know that you’re doing the right thing.
2. Spend time in nature
Make sure you get out and about into nature. You’ll feel calmer for it and more connected to the real world.
Watching animals and birds can be extremely relaxing. And seeing the power of nature with things like waterfalls and large forests reminds you that there is something bigger out there. It can provide a fresh perspective on what your life is about and help you work on better goals for when you return home.
A new country with different climates provides a much-needed challenge for the objective and rational part of your brain. So absorb all you can while you’re away and notice the difference.
I really recommend doing this without your phone, too. Invest in a camera so that you can leave all your notifications behind.
3. Keep a regular sleep schedule
I know it will be really tempting to catch up on some much-needed sleep on holiday. But try to keep to a regular schedule to wake up and go to bed.
It’s probably better to have a few naps during the day if you want to relieve your tiredness. But keeping a regular schedule for waking and bedtime will mean that you’ll stay in tune with your circadian rhythm. This means you’ll eat better as well.
You can almost use your holiday to reset yourself gradually to a good sleep schedule. And to avoid any post-holiday blues you can continue this once you get home. You’ll notice the benefits almost immediately.
4. Try new things
The rational part of your brain wants to be stretched and stimulated in a non-stressful way. So, trying things like new foods, going to new places, observing cultural differences, and visiting museums and historic sites are fantastic for this.
Trying a new language is a good stretch for the brain as well. All these things will take your mind away from your problems. And you’ll nurture your creativity much more, maybe even subconsciously coming up with solutions.
This will keep your primitive brain calm and in check, too. You’ll literally be limiting what goes into your stress bucket.
5. Spend time with those you love
We all want to feel needed and have love to give as well. So, switch off all external interruptions and spend time with those you love when on holiday. Give them your full attention and make some space to talk about things you have no time for when at home.
Creating a nurturing and safe environment to communicate will strengthen those bonds and will improve your self-confidence and self-esteem. And it will help you fend off that pesky post-holiday blues as well.
6. Switch off social media/notifications
This probably applies as a standalone suggestion as well combining it with all the above.
I’ve been to so many places where I see people viewing their surroundings through the lens of their phones and immediately posting it to social media. It seems as though if you don’t post it on your socials have you really even been there? But if you do this then you’re not being present.
Please switch off all your social media and notifications. If you want to avoid post-holidays blues and make the most of your holidays, you need to drop the vigilance and relax. Nothing is as urgent as your space to revive yourself on your holiday.
Also, please don’t treat your holiday like a two-week band-aid. Instead, see it as a salve that will last and last, and use it as a time to reset yourself for the future. This will help you create a life you don’t need to escape from every time the stress levels rise and helps you avoid that post-holiday blues.