We all agree that we like holidays! Some people spend months planning their main big holiday. Some live for the next holiday! You know that you enjoy being on holiday and you feel good whilst on holiday. But why are holidays so good for us?
Here are 7 reasons why holidays are good for you:
1. Nature – many people spend their holiday by the sea and spend more time outdoors in nature – not just being active or relaxing but eating every meal outdoors. Spending time either in green nature or blue nature (sea, rivers or lakes) has been shown to be massively positive for increasing our sense of wellbeing. Additionally, direct sunlight doesn’t just feel good but enables us to makes Vitamin D which is essential for health. Many people in the UK are deficient in Vitamin D because of the low levels of sunlight we experience and made worse by the many hours we now spend indoors.
2. Sleep – sleep deprivation is something most people in the Western World experience. Being on holiday means you don’t have to be woken by the dreaded alarm clock, and that you can sleep and let your body establish its own rhythm of how many hours of sleep you need. Spending time outdoors – especially in the morning, absorbing actual daylight means you are more lightly to experience quality sleep – and wake refreshed. The low levels of natural light from working indoors plus the disruption of evening melatonin production from technology and blue light emissions creates poor sleep quality and disturbance.
3. Time with family and friends – we all benefit from spending more time with our loved ones. Many people in the UK work very long hours and so don’t get enough time with their partners, friends and children. Being loved-up with your loved one and having time to cuddle your children releases lots of oxytocin – an important hormone in the countering of harmful impact of cortisol.
4. The Joy of Laughter – one of the things many of us love about holidays is not having the pressures of clock watching, of having more freedom and fewer time constraints. Without the clock ticking we can relax, be playful, have fun and laugh. Laughter and fun give us the feel-good buzz of serotonin – another great cortisol stress-buster.
5. Space – being on holiday gives you time, opportunity and space to think and reflect about what matters in life. Time away can help you get work into perspective, to re-establish new priorities, new goals. Having time to think clearly and fully, alongside spending time outside in nature and spending time with family can be liberating. Having space can help you come back to work determined to create more balance in your life.
6. Having a break from the technology – a holiday from technology can be great for our wellbeing. The line between work and home life has become so blurred that people often find they are working all day and all evening, unsure where the working day starts and ends. In addition to working long hours, being constantly connected to social media and seeing the amazing life others are having whilst worrying about what they are Missing Out on creates high levels of inadequacy and anxiety. Having some time off from technology and social media is really positive for mental wellbeing.
7. Doing something different – being on holiday can give you time and the opportunity to do something different from the usual things you do every day. Learning something new can be good fun! It also helps develop new neural pathways which is positive for brain health. Repeated attempts at learning a new skill, learning to be comfortable with trying to learn a new a skill increases confidence and develops resilience. Learning to paddle board, for example, is a great way to step out of your comfort zone, and the repeated falls are good for your wellbeing! If paddle boarding isn’t your thing then reading novels is also an active way of using your brain rather than passively as happens with the internet or TV.
So once your holiday is over before you get sucked back into the rat race, stop for a moment and think.
Which of these 7 things can you take back into your life to increase your mental health and wellbeing?
Adelle Shaw-Flach is Director of The Sweet Potato Consultancy – and works strategically with businesses to reduce the cost to people and business of workplace stress and mental health.
More information can be found on: www.thesweetpotatoconsultancy.com
Get in touch with me on- firstname.lastname@example.org