Summer breaks are, for many of us, a real highlight of the year. Not often do we get the chance to truly relax and enjoy doing what we enjoy most, whether it be sunbathing on a tropical beach, exploring a European city or trekking in a rainforest. However, our lives are so fast paced in this internet age that it’s easy to forget to slow down, take it easy and release the stress that we carry with us from our everyday lives.
When this happens, we can find that our summer holiday becomes a source of more stress, rather than an opportunity to relax. If we can’t put down our phones, enjoy quality time with our families and find time to do what we really love, holidays can be just as draining as a busy week at work. Follow these tips on how to have a more relaxing summer holiday, and see if you can make the most of your time away.
Completely Switch Off
Perhaps the most essential piece of advice for having a relaxing holiday is to turn off your mobile devices and avoid going online at all costs. This might seem extreme, especially if you can’t go a day without posting something on Facebook, but you’re likely to find that switching off your phone helps you to switch off your mind.
When you’re not thinking about social media or sale shopping you’ll be able to really be present and enjoy every moment of your break. Think of your phone use as something you do at home, and therefore something you have left at home, along with your TV, shopping list and workload. That way you’ll be able to mentally separate it from your holiday experience and have a less busy, less stressed mindset.
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Many studies in recent years have shown that social media use causes stress, especially when done in excess. Research published earlier this year by the American Psychological Association showed that people who constantly check their social media channels are generally much more stressed than those who don’t. This study also revealed the challenges parents face when trying to decrease their children’s social media usage.
An amazing 45% of parents said they felt disconnected from their families because of technology. If you think this is true for you, try encouraging all of your family members to go internet-free during your holiday, and see if you can reconnect.
Find Some ‘Me’ Time
As adults, we spend so much time doing things with and for other people that we often don’t find time to enjoy our own company. Getting quality ‘me time’ is essential for a stress-free lifestyle, and a holiday is the ideal time to have some alone time. Taking time for yourself might not seem very important sometimes, but it actually helps you to recharge, relax and take stock of everything that’s going on in your life. Without it, it’s easy to feel like you’re on a constant carrousel, going round and round and never stopping.
The recent surge of articles about the importance of ‘self-care’ are inspired by exactly this idea: that you can’t be at your best unless you take time to look after yourself. Some research into the benefits of solitude has found that being alone helps us to build stronger relationships, to process and relieve stress, and to be more creative, innovative and empathetic.
What you do with your alone time is entirely up to you. You could go for a walk, take a bath, have a nap, draw, knit or even dance. Of course, you want to spend time with loved ones during your holiday, but by spending time with yourself as well you’ll really get the most out of it.
Pick Up a Book
For some of us, reading is something that we struggle to find time for in our daily lives. This is incredibly unfortunate, as books are the perfect way to indulge in a bit of escapism, challenge our minds and switch off from the outside world.
Being on holiday is a great time to start reading again, as being on the beach, by the pool or anywhere outdoors is ideal for picking up a book. Of course, this does require a little bit of planning and organisation, as you need to bring your books – or e-reader – with you. You don’t want to face the challenge of trying to find an English language bookshop when you’re abroad!
You also might need to bring a pair of sun readers with you, and possibly a reading light depending on when you prefer to read. However you choose to spend your holiday, make sure you make time to relax and unwind, so that you return feeling refreshed and energised.