Top tips for the most relaxing holiday – words Alexa Wang

If you’re like me, you probably have a habit of letting stress get the better of you sometimes. You work hard and play hard but don’t always know how to relax.

Plus, you’ve likely spent months planning your dream summer break. But attempting to tie up unfinished business at work and sorting out your travel plans mean your stress levels missile in the days before you fly.

While you perhaps can’t get away from the pre-holiday chaos completely, there are a few things you can actually do to start your holiday so you’re far more relaxed – and to make sure you have the best and most revitalising holiday yet.

 

Bring Some Books

Holidays are a heaven-sent opportunity to lose yourself between the covers of a book, particularly if you are on a cruise. So, make sure the book that gets chucked into your suitcase is a decent one.

A good book can do wonders for the mind. What you decide to read can have a real impact on your feelings – so try and stick to something happy. Rather than immersing yourself in a depressing or sad book, get yourself in the holiday spirit and opt for something heartening and inspiring.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Once, I got stuck in a mile-long motorway gridlock on the way to the airport. It wasn’t nice. And no one wants to sit on a stock-still train or tube watching as the check-in clock time ticks away.

Obviously, delays happen. So, be sure to factor in ample time so you roll up to Departures in a relaxed mood.

For instance, if you have to get to the airport early in the morning (or aren’t a fan of the rush-hour drive), consider booking an airport hotel the night before you travel. You’ll wake up exactly where you need to be, which will ultimately reduce travel stress levels.

Alternatively, opt for an airport lounge – it’s a terrific way to unwind and treat yourself before your flight. Indulge in a glass of fizz as you look out on the runway before take-off and escape the airport pandemonium.

Switch Off Technology

I’ve been known to take my laptop with me and catch up on work emails, check documents and keep in touch with colleagues. But it then turns into a ‘worliday’ (working holiday). My vow is to keep my laptop, smartphone and tablet for entertainment purposes only when I’m on holiday.

If you must take one with you for work, try and limit the time you spend catching up with the office. An hour before dinner is more than enough.

I regularly use my smartphone for reading maps, checking transport timetables and Googling local information using the readily available Wi-Fi but it means I never unwind properly. If you do the same as me using your devices, maybe it’s time we resist the urge to scroll through Instagram and Facebook. Save the hashtags for when we get home.

Get Some Zzzzzzzzz

Holidays are the perfect chance to rest and catch up on your kip. But actually, many holidaymakers get so caught up in the excitement that they miss out on much-needed sleep. Whether it’s a late night out at the beach bar or an early excursion the next morning, many get less sleep on holiday than they would at home.

The best thing you can do is promise yourself you won’t set any alarms while you’re away unless it’s absolutely necessary. Your holiday is your only chance to have a lie-in and discover a delicious breakfast at a local café rather than hurrying to the buffet.

Why not squeeze in a nap after lunch? Save your sightseeing for later in the afternoon when the heat of the day has died down and the light is better for photos. If you find sleeping on unfamiliar pillows uncomfortable, travel like a pro and pack a pillow from home for a better night’s sleep.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

While it’s okay to be mindful about what you’re eating, it’s possible to be excessively worried about what you’re putting in your mouth.

If you can’t drink and eat what you want on holiday, then when can you? So, forget calorie-counting. Save yourself the anxiety of fretting about overindulgence and calories. Sometimes I beat myself up about overindulging. But then I remind myself that I’m on holiday and here to have a ball. It’s time to let go of all the food guilt and just enjoy the damn pizza or pie.

Holidays are meant to be calming. The most extraordinary holidays are the ones where you don’t plan everything, and wonderful stuff just happens – because you let it. From switching off technology and letting yourself indulge to simply catching up on kip, there are different ways to lessen the stress. Whatever you do, take off the pressure. You’re on holiday, relax.

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