Is it me, or is it that everywhere you look these days there is an inspirational tale of a travel blogger or female solo traveller off exploring the world?
My Instagram feed is crammed with people backpacking across Peru, snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef and cave diving in Malaysia. It seems hot dog legs and poolside cocktails are out, adventure selfies are in.
Now, I love exploration holidays. A huge part of travel for me is about exploring new countries and cultures. But, I also love holidays where my only goal is to finally read that book I bought from Amazon six months ago and drink syrupy sweet cocktails to my heart’s content.
More importantly, I want to do this without fear of being judged that I’m wasting my holiday relaxing rather than going on daily adventures.
I work hard day to day. I give my best at work because I’m at the start of my career ladder and I know it’s the way to progress. My evenings are spent working out, dining with friends, prepping healthy lunches, blogging, and networking on social media.
The weekends are just as packed; checking out local events, meeting friends for food or drinks, blogging, dating, cleaning the house and generally sorting any life admin that might have slipped during the week. It’s nonstop, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is living this way.
We deserve a break.
It is not just enough to work these days; we must constantly network both online and offline, look after our bodies, eat healthily and have active social lives in order to be seen as successful. Most of us go to bed exhausted each night, but still get up early enough that we can primp and prep for our long day ahead. I’m not complaining; it’s how I like spending my time. However, every now and then a break is needed – and that is why I think we should be more open to going away with the intention of doing absolutely nothing, without FOMO.
Relaxation holidays are good for your mind and body, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about going on one.
They improve your wellness.
Everyday stressors can have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing, and going on holiday can help to reset your mind – ready to face the hustle and bustle being a successful individual brings with a fresh new attitude.
While adventure holidays are great for immersing yourself in new cultures and experiences, the constant planning, moving, and generally *just doing* means neither your body or mind is getting the rest it needs to recover from daily life. In contrast, lazy holidays give you the chance to reconnect with yourself and rejuvenate, whether that’s by catching up on sleep, rediscovering lost interests such as reading or swimming, or simply soaking up beautiful views without sharing it on your social media.
They boost productivity and creativity.
There is plenty of research out there which shows we have a limited amount of cognitive resource and energy to use. Being on the go constantly quickly depletes these resources; going on holiday is a chance to replenish them. This has a huge impact on productivity once your vacation is over – you have essentially revived your brain power to its maximum, so of course you’re going to be more productive.
It’s the same with creativity. Being creative when juggling work, friends, health, and whatever else, is a struggle. Your mind is constantly preoccupied with other tasks, and as such you don’t have the attention or inspiration to come up with a flow of creative ideas. On holiday, you don’t need to think about anything, and this is when ideas normally strike. When you’re not worrying about dozens of things, your mind is free to come up with new concepts that may have been quashed otherwise.
They alleviate chronic stress.
Stress in small doses is an adaptive response; it improves alertness, concentration, and performance, all of which can be beneficial if, for example, you are about to give a presentation. Constant stress, however, can really run your body down. Prolonged periods of the stress hormone, cortisol, weakens your immune system, interrupts sleep, impacts appetite, raises your blood pressure, causes anxiety and mood swings, and decreases your cognitive ability.
Going on holiday and getting away from stressors means your adrenal glands will stop producing cortisol, giving your body a chance to recover and get back to its natural state. Once you’re out of chronic stress mode, you actually produce a smaller response to stressors – so by resetting, you reduce levels of future stress.
How can you make the most of a relaxing holiday?
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but the best way to take advantage of a lazy holiday is to do nothing.
All-inclusive holidays are a godsend when you’re looking to avoid stress. You don’t need to worry about budgeting, food, and drink is pretty much unlimited, so all that’s left to do is grab a sun lounger in the morning and take advantage of the entertainment program – if you feel like it.
Reading is an incredible way to unwind, and it’s something most of us don’t make enough time for. Whether it’s a chick flick or a book on self-improvement, spending your day alternating between reading and cooling off in the pool is a sure fire way to destress and unwind.
Disconnect from social media.
Rather than sharing your holiday on social media, and subsequently wondering why no one is liking or favoriting your photos, put down your phone and spend time in the moment – enjoy the view, rather than wonder what angle would be best to capture it.
Leave work behind.
The whole point of your holiday is to get a break from work, and that means stepping away from your emails and phone until you’re back. It’s impossible to relax and unwind if you’re constantly on email responding to queries that, let’s be honest, can be dealt with by someone else or put on hold until you’re back. Remember – taking a break increases productivity, so there’s no need to feel bad!