Taking a holiday soon? Good for you! Holidays help us to keep a healthy work-life balance while also allowing us to rack up life-long memories and see different parts of the world. As I’m sure we all know, a holiday isn’t just about the sun, the sea and the adventure; it’s also a time to take a break from everyday life and reenergise. However, with the many distractions around us, it can often be difficult to truly relax, even with your toes in the sand.

The best way to really unwind is to cut yourself loose from all of the technology we seem to be so attached to and completely immerse yourself in the world around you. Over the years and through my various holidays I’ve learned a few tricks that help to ensure that I always come back from holiday feeling totally rejuvenated.

  1. Choose a remote location

Although it may seem nearly impossible these days with our hectic lives and constant need to be “plugged in”, there are several places across the globe that can take you away from it all. Recently we holidayed in the Maldives and stayed at The Banyan Tree, specifically for the reason that it is one of the smallest islands, doesn’t have a lot going on, and a place to truly relax.

Maldives Banyan Tree

Maldives Banyan Tree

By choosing more of a remote location, you’ll be able to fully cherish time spent there and simply enjoy nature for a while; watch the waves or the clouds roll by and listen to the birds chirp! Most importantly, go somewhere where your nervous system can relax. This ties in perfectly with my next bit of advice.

2. Go somewhere you know fairly well

Traveling to a familiar place may seem boring to some, but it can really have its advantages. When you know a place well, you’re less likely to overextend yourself or become flustered by the day-to-day travel issues that typically arise. For example, you’ll know where to shop for groceries, the best restaurants in town and the fastest route to and from the park. Seriously, a well-known place may be the easiest way to find tranquility.

3. Spend your holiday with people you love

 The people you surround yourself with have a great impact on your overall happiness. While it’s totally okay to take a solo-vacation, choosing to spend your holiday with the people that you love may be just what the doctor ordered. Unscheduled time allows a greater opportunity to connect, listen and show appreciation and generosity with those we care about. Some of my greatest memories with my family have come through time spent on holidays.

4. Don’t over-schedule

It’s important to remember that you only have so much time. By prioritizing and not trying to do too much, you’ll enjoy yourself more. Trust me! While you will likely have a list of ‘must-do’ activities, decide on what’s most important and try to come up with rough schedule to make sure that you will have time to fit everything in. Only aim to do a few things each day, such as reading by the pool, doing some light shopping, making a big family meal, or heading to the spa.

palm-trees

5. Learn a new skill

It can be both fun and fulfilling to learn something new while on holiday. This can include anything from adventurous surfing or rock-climbing lessons to culture-filled culinary classes. Whatever your interest may be, there’s something out there for everyone. Trying something for the first time can be just as relaxing and restorative as doing nothing at all. In fact, it’s often easier for some people to leave work and worries behind when focusing on learning something new. It simultaneously puts your mind to work, while also putting it at ease. On my recent holiday, I learned how to snorkel…OK, it is not than difficult but once I got into it, you couldn’t get me out of the water. What phone? I forgot about it all. Swimming with small sharks, turtles, and stingrays was simply magical.

6. Read- and bring a paperback.

Reading can be a wonderful escape from the strain of everyday life. It’s actually been proven that opening a book can relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing muscle tension, and a study at the University of Sussex in 2009 found that reading has the ability to reduce stress by up to 68%! While e-books are amazing inventions, buy a paperback and rediscover true print for a few days. By absorbing content the old-fashioned way, you also will be less tempted to surf the web or check up on social media. Which brings me to my next tip…

7. Limit screen time to the bare minimum

I realise it would be pretty impossible these days not to carry a phone, but I challenge you to try and leave it behind (in your room, locked away in a safe). Take a real camera with you instead! If this just isn’t possible, discipline yourself to a limited amount of screen time each day, even on your phone. Try to use this time to check emails and other necessary things only. Without technology around to distract and interrupt your day, you’ll have an easier time letting go of “real life” and tuning into the present moment.

sea maldives

8. Sleep

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to utilise your holiday time to catch up on some likely much needed Z’s. It’s common these days to be so busy that you sleep less than the recommended seven to eight hours each night. While on holiday, don’t feel guilty about hitting that snooze button or taking a mid-afternoon nap (or two!). Plan to come back well rested by tuning into your natural rhythm and re-setting your mind. Your body will thank you!

9. Eat well and don’t drink too much

Eating healthy, fresh foods while on holiday will help you to further improve your physical and mental health. Definitely indulge a time or two, but by focusing on your wellbeing full circle you’ll head home feeling better than you ever have. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, as it is likely leave you feeling tired and groggy. A glass of wine with good food is perfect, but boozing heavily each evening will not help you to return rested.

champagne

10. Buffer your vacation

My final word of advice is to, if possible, take an extra day off before and after your holiday to be at home. This will give you time to fully prepare before the trip and also to catch up on post-holiday tasks such as laundry and grocery shopping once you’re back.
Vacations truly can reduce stress and improve your life over the long term if you allow yourself to relax. What are your favourite ways to wind down over holiday? Do share!

 
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