Most of us happily welcome a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life and the ever-present pressures of work. A relaxing, picturesque escape to an idyllic holiday cottage might be just what you need. However, once you finally do get away, you might find that truly unwinding after a long period of mental and physical excitement might not be as easy as you first anticipated.
Science has shown that when we take a break from an active work or home life, we feel an equal pressure to make the most of our time off – to relax to our truest potential. Of course, placing this burden on ourselves has a psychological repercussion; we find ourselves unable to unwind at all. Here are some things that you can do to try to put yourself in the holiday mood.
Unplug from technology
Since the invention of the smartphone, most of us have bee permanently glued to one screen or another. The idea of unplugging for even a few hours is likely to evoke feelings of dread for some, but unplugging on holiday can have some fairly significant benefits to your mind and body.
First of all, it is important to psychologically distance yourself from work whilst you are on holiday. Even if you’re only occasionally checking the odd email, you still have a divided mindset that will end up causing you stress. There is only so much you can do from your remote location, so not only are you not succeeding at relaxing, but you can’t give your work your full effort either. Not to mention, uninterrupted computer use has been negatively associated with stress, anxiety, depression and a loss of sleep in women. It has also been shown that late-night computer use has been associated with stress in both men and women. Do yourself a favour and limit your time with technology for just a few days.
Take some time to read
Bibliophiles everywhere will be happy to know that reading has been shown to be a very effective means of relaxing. According to research, reading for as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by more than two thirds. It works better than alternative methods, such as listening to music or even settling down with a cup of a tea. Psychologists suggest that this is due to the fact that you are forced to concentrate on your reading material and engage your imagination, entering you into an altered state of consciousness which has the magical effect of relaxing tense muscles and lowering your heart rate.
If you’re not a huge reader and you’re looking for some inspiration, delve into one of the 100 best novels of all time as suggested by The Guardian.
Do some light exercise
You don’t have to be the fittest person in the world to enjoy calming exercise, such as a gentle walk or yoga. Yoga promotes feelings of well-being and relaxation as well as doing wonders for your flexibility and strength.
Studies have also shown that physical activity in natural settings, such as walking for as little as seventeen minutes, helps to increase feelings of relaxation and calm even more than paying a visit to the gym. Visiting the local park and enjoying the benefits of endorphins will reduce your stress hormones.
Try something new
Learning something new on holiday is one of the best ways of relaxing. It is demanding enough to mentally distract you from the stressors you are trying to escape, and you might just find a hobby that you can continue when you get back home. Try anything from learning photography and knitting to scuba diving. Studies have shown a clear correlation between creative activities such as painting and stress reduction. Don’t get too concerned with skill or technique; this is something that will come with practice. Enjoy the feeling of learning something completely new.
Stop trying so hard
By so strenuously attempting to relax, you are placing undue pressure on yourself that is doing you a disservice. It is a complicated and strange concept, but to get the most out of your holiday, try to not focus so hard on destressing. You may not have long to enjoy your time off, but it will be far better spent if you are in the right frame of mind. Take a few deep, calming breaths and take the time to appreciate your surroundings.
Bimblebox can help you find the perfect cottage holiday getaway, get in touch with us today and we will ensure that you have the break that you deserve.