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How to truly relax on holiday

Booking a holiday is a chance to take a break from the stresses of everyday life, but that doesn't mean it's always that easy. Here are some top tips on how to truly relax on holiday so you return home rested and recharged.

Five people relaxing and being in the moment.

When you think of why we take holidays, it normally revolves around the need to take a step back from our work and everyday lives. However, there are some aspects which can make relaxing on holiday difficult to achieve.

An article by Inc on ‘4 scientific reasons why vacations are good for your health’, found that: “The average U.S. employee takes only half of their allotted vacation time.” In addition, 3 in 5 workers admitted to doing work whilst on holiday, and 20% of employers were contacted by their supervisor about a work-related issue whilst on holiday.

Plus, those who are self employed can often worry about work when they are on holiday too. All in all, it can actually be pretty difficult to shut yourself off from work entirely, meaning you don’t enjoy your holiday to its full potential.

If this sounds familiar, here are some top tips on how to truly relax on holiday.

Prepare well for your holiday

To make sure you don’t encounter any unnecessary stress while you’re away, you should ensure everything is taken care of before you go, which you might want to facilitate by writing a list. This might include writing an itinerary of your trip, making sure you have travel insurance, photocopying your passport and bank cards in case they get stolen, etc.

There is nothing more stressful than arriving at a destination only to realize you forgot something important. Therefore, it will help reduce stress if you make sure you pack well and have everything that you need to make your trip a success.

If you are self employed, make sure your business is taken care of while your away. Let you customers know you are not available and when you will be back. Don’t forget that all important out of office message!

Choose your hotel carefully

If you are going on holiday with the intention of relaxing, then you need to ensure your hotel or resort will provide the right ambiance to facilitate this. It’s a good idea to check review sites before you book, to make sure there is no ongoing construction work, and that rooms offer quiet comfort especially at night.

Your room should also be clean and comfortable so that you get a good night’s sleep and feel relaxed when you wake up. Problems with hotel rooms can cause a lot of stress and disappointment when on holiday, so choosing your hotel carefully can help avoid this.

Avoid stress at the airport

If you are flying to your destination, then you will most likely encounter stress at the airport. Whether it’s long queues or fitting everything into that dreaded liquids bag, it can make the start of the holiday feel like the complete opposite of relaxation.

To avoid stress at the airport, you should plan and prep your bags well in advance, making sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare. If you are travelling out of a major city, why not take a train to beat traffic? All these little tricks can really help prevent stressful situations.

For an even more relaxed airport experience, you could also try one of the lounges for a small fee. Some offer free food in quiet, luxurious surroundings, whilst other lounges offer showers and even spa treatments to ensure you look and feel your best when you arrive at your destination.

Ditch your devices

While there’s nothing wrong with the odd check of social media, or even uploading some photos of your stay – make sure you don’t spend too much time on your devices whilst on holiday. Social media in particular can be very addictive, and spending time engrossed in what others are doing does not allow you to fully enjoy your surroundings or relax. There’s plenty of time to upload photos once you get back!

Plus, it’s all too tempting to reply to emails which come in once you’ve seen you have some. You’ve put your out of office on – you’re good to go.

Book in for a spa treatment

What better way to relax on holiday then to indulge in a spa treatment? Many hotels and complexes have spas, or the concierge can recommend a top-rated local facility.

You could try a Swedish massage to remove muscle knots and tension from your upper back and shoulders. If you are prone to a lot of stress and tension headaches, why not try an Indian head massage?

Depending on where you travel to, the local culture may offer unique spa treatments, so it’s definitely worth researching these. Visiting a spa is all about restoring a sense of calm and balance, so will help reduce your stress, and leave you feeling incredibly relaxed.

Explore the local environment

Being outdoors is good for us, so no matter what type of holiday you’re on, you should try and explore the local environment around you.

Whether you go for a long walk on the beach, discover the forest or enjoy some nearby gardens, the more time you spend in nature the more relaxed you will feel. This is especially the case on holidays where tourist areas can become very crowded, which can become stressful. You should take time to explore the natural landscape of your destination, which will also help you feel calm too.

Don’t overcomplicate your itinerary

There might be lots which you wish to do whilst on holiday, but you should make sure you leave a little ‘me time’ too. Whether this involves reading a book by the pool or even having a lay in, make sure your holiday itinerary isn’t so hectic that you don’t have time to slow down and relax. After all, you should end your holiday feeling fresh and rejuvenated, which you cannot do if you are adhering to a hectic schedule the whole time.

Alternatively, if you want to see a lot of sights then hiring a local guide can go a long way towards taking the pressure off. They’ll show you the best sites, and know the best local routes to get you there so you can truly relax.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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