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If you're stressed out by the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine, you might consider taking a holiday. It seems like the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate yourself. However, a study published in Applied Research in Quality of Life found that most people aren't actually happier after they return from holiday.
Find out how to maximise your holiday time so that you can return to your regular life feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Are You Working Too Much?
Most workers in the UK are legally eligible for 5.6 weeks of paid holiday every year, according to Gov.uk. In contrast, the U.S. doesn't guarantee workers any holiday time by law. In fact, a study conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research showed that about 25% of all American employees don't receive any paid holiday time.
Is Taking A Holiday The Answer?
In the Applied Research in Quality of Life study, participants showed greater levels of happiness before they went on holiday. This might be due to the excitement of anticipating the trip. When travel plans involved moderate or high levels of stress, however, people didn't feel any happier upon returning home.
One study looked at the health and well-being of people who took holidays that were at least two weeks long. Results showed that people felt better as soon as they were on holiday, but the “high” peaked on the eighth day. People returned to their baseline stress and mood levels within a week of returning from holiday.
Some factors that can make a holiday stressful include:
- Managing transportation
- Being unfamiliar with the location
- Managing travel details
- Feeling unsafe in a new environment
A few elements that can improve your health and well-being on holiday are:
- Savouring pleasure
- Engaging in passive activities
- Getting enough sleep
- Feeling in control
Taking a holiday can make you happier. It just has to be the right kind of holiday.
PsychCentral explains that positive experiences during a holiday lead to an increased satisfaction with life in general.
The Health Benefits Of A Holiday
A nourishing holiday results in better productivity at work and increased morale. It's good for your workplace, and it's good for the economy, according to Forbes. What about the health benefits that it offers to you?
Increased Vitamin D
If you're heading on an outdoor holiday, soaking in an extra five to 15 minutes of sunlight every day can boost your vitamin D levels, says Advantage Behavioral Health. Vitamin D is vital for regulating your immune system. Low levels of the vitamin are associated with poor health, according to Prevention.
Vitamin D is also a mood regulator. People with low levels of this nutrient are twice as likely to have depression, explains the British Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers suggest that the mood-regulating centres of your brain contain vitamin D receptors and might not operate normally if you're not getting enough of the vitamin.
Vitamin D may also help reduce the risk of:
- Age-related cognitive decline
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Heart disease
- Lung infections
Better Heart Health
Research shows that yearly holidays are connected with a decreased risk of heart disease. One study found that men who take annual holidays were 32% less likely to pass away from a cardiovascular disease.
Another study looked at women over the course of 20 years. Those who only went on holiday every six years or more were more likely to develop heart-related health issues than those who took at least two holidays a year.
Improved Mental Health
NPR reported that people who work leisure into their lives have more positive emotions and fewer incidences of depression. Many studies reinforce these findings, according to Healthnet.
The American Psychological Association explains that stress can be hazardous to your health. If you're constantly struggling with stress, you may have heightened levels of cortisol, which affects your mental health, cardiovascular health and immunity.
Stress rolls downhill. If you're stressed, you might not be eating or sleeping well either. Chronic stress can make existing health problems worse.
VeryWell says that holidays can:
- Increase creativity
- Prevent burnout
- Strengthen relationships
- Improve job performance
All of these elements can also ward off stress.
How To Experience A Stress-Busting Holiday
Now that you're fairly certain that you need to make sure to implement a holiday in your yearly schedule, learn how to make the most of it.
One of the most stressful aspects of a holiday is planning out the details. If you do that ahead of time, you can avoid wasting precious moments hassling with specifics when you should be lounging on a sandy beach.
According to a Harvard Business Review article, 74% of people find that managing the details during a holiday is the most nerve-racking qualities of travel. The earlier you start working out the particulars, the better. Start at least a month ahead of time so that you don't overwhelm yourself by adding that stress to your life the week before you leave. You'll have an even tougher time de-stressing on holiday if you're still hassling with specifics while you're travelling.
Meeting up with someone who knows the area can help you organise your plans. You can arrange to find a local host who can give you insight into where to go or what to do.
Using a holiday rental site like holidaycottages.co.uk, you can rent a whole home. In some cases, the owner is around to answer your questions about the local area. Organisations such as Monograms provide travellers with a host at their destination. You can gather local knowledge and get support to avoid holiday stress.
Get Out Of Town
Many people choose to stay close to home to limit the stress and cost of travel. Dealing with airport security and lost luggage can make you feel like crawling back into bed instead of looking forward to getting to your destination.
AARP explains that money is the primary cause of stress for many people. You may think that avoiding the cost of a holiday prevents you from feeling the strain on your wallet. However, are you trading one type of stress for another?
When you leave home, you get out of your comfort zone. That can make you feel tense. On the other hand, mental stimulation is one of the pillars of brain health, says Helpguide.org. The accomplishment that you feel when you challenge yourself is one of the positive aspects of taking a holiday.
Plus, staying close to home can tempt you to continue working or cleaning your house. These are the routines from which you need a break.
A TripAdvisor survey found that most people feel guilty if they don't work while on holiday. Therefore, they check their emails, work on documents and listen to voicemails in between margaritas. If you do this while you're on holiday, you're not really soaking in that leisure time.
Most people understand that play is essential for children. However, at some point in your life, you're told that playing isn't appropriate for adults. Helpguide.org says that play is crucial to your well-being at any age.
Play improves your:
- Problem-solving skills
- Emotional well-being
Taking the time to have fun without being tied to your job responsibilities can stimulate your mind and improve your relationships. It can even replace longstanding negative beliefs with positive assumptions. To get the most out of your holiday, take the time to unwind and enjoy yourself.
Where To Go For A Healthy Holiday
While taking a spring break trip with your friends can be playful and fun, it can also wreak havoc on your health if you're not taking care of yourself. Although you should allow yourself to indulge while you're away, you might not want to drink so much that you drink each day away. You may also want to alternate indulgent meals with healthier ones so that you don't go home feeling worse than you did before.
A holiday destination that isn't overcrowded, offers the benefits of nature and gives you a chance to put your feet up is the ideal location to de-stress. Cornwall, England, offers an abundance of splendour on an unspoiled coastline. You can find plenty of activities to keep you busy or completely unplug if that's what you need.
You can be as active or relaxed as you want when you spend time on Cornwall's beautiful seashore. Many visitors spend time surfing, walking the beaches or swimming. Of course, you can always pack a picnic and a good book and simply take it easy. Whatever you do, take advantage of the ability to unwind in nature.
According to Business Insider, spending time outdoors can bring you:
- Better memory
- Improved mental energy
- Stress relief
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved vision
- Increased attention span
- More creativity
- Sharper thinking
- Improved immunity
A Pristine Coastline
The Cornwall coastline is an exquisite place to explore. Sandy beaches sprawl out along the water, and they're intersected with rocky coves and tidal pools. You might need to hike to some of the beaches, and they're not all ideal for swimming. However, you can really customise your holiday by checking out some of the top Cornwall beaches.
The Strangles beach is located near the highest cliff in the area. The jagged rocks contrast with the soft sand. Getting here involves some fancy footwork, but the path is well maintained, and the beach is not usually busy.
Watergate Bay is a busier beach that's a hit with the surfers. It's also more accessible. There is plenty of parking. You can also dine at some of the best restaurants in town, including Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall.
Gwithian Towans has three miles of sand that appeal to surfing beginners. Low tide uncovers pools and caves. A few beachside cafes provide delicious options to enjoy a meal while looking out at the picturesque bay.
A Tranquil Atmosphere
The weather in Cornwall is also enticing. It never gets too cold, and spring comes early. The area is always peaceful, but it becomes even more tranquil during the offseason. Although almost every road leads to the coast, there are many activities for those who don't prefer surfing and swimming.
If you want to take in some culture and creativity, you can visit one of the many art galleries in the region. The town of St. Ives was a significant art colony in the 20th-century. St. Michael's Mount was a 17th-century monastery and is now a peaceful place to tour or spend time in the gardens.
The Biomes in the Eden Project are home to the world's largest indoor rainforest. Although you might have to contend with crowds if you visit this version of paradise, it's a unique experience that is as educational as it is awe-inspiring.
Although safety concerns and an unknown environment prevent some people from really putting their feet up on holiday, you don't have to worry about those issues in Cornwall. Generally speaking, the area is safe, with the Isles of Scilly being almost crime-free, according to Cornwall Live.
You can explore the quaint area on your own or get the assistance of a local tour company. Organisations such as Cornwall Tour offer individual, guided or accompanied tours of different attractions.
Making The Most Of Your Holiday
One of the best things about a Cornwall holiday is that you won't run out of things to do, but you don't have to overschedule yourself. You'll get just as much out of the experience whether you spend it savouring nature or discovering other local charms.
Remember not to attempt to do too much if you want to escape the stress of your everyday life. Make sure that you plan in advance so that you can relish the feeling of leisure time while you're on holiday. Focusing on the way you want to feel instead of all of the things that you want to do can help you treasure your holiday well-being long after you've returned home.