Summer holidays might not be going ahead as planned this year, but you can still have a great staycation and create some lasting memories with the ones you love!
We asked five wellness experts to share their top tips for re-creating the perfect holiday vibe…
Bring the outside in
Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan discovered that healthy volunteers who strolled through a pine forest for 15 minutes a day reported more positive ratings on a mood scale compared with those who didn’t.
Psychologist Dr Audrey Tang, who is the author of The Leader’s Guide To Mindfulness, recommends recreating this by keeping fresh flowers, plants and colourful fruits around your home, which will also help to brighten your environment and keep you snacking healthily.
Practise being 8 again
“Think back to when you were a kid,” says Dr Andy Cope, who is the best-selling author of The Little Book of Being Brilliant.
“The playground was a backdrop to discovery, adventures and first times. And now? Somewhere between then and now, you grew up. For most adults, playtime has ended. We no longer rise and shine. We rise and whine.
“To help you re-learn to have fun, it’s worth making a mental note of what’s called the ‘Pratfall Effect’, a phenomenon whereby you are deemed more attractive when you’re being a bit of an idiot. I promise you this is an actual scientifically proven fact!
“Imagine you’re at a wedding – an evening do – and the party’s slacking so you decide to take the bull by the horns and be the first one on the dancefloor. Nobody follows. Not a soul. The Pratfall Effect says that rather than retire sheepishly to the bar, you should give it the full Saturday Night Fever. No half measures. The full Travolta for the full 4 minutes.
“Revelling in your faux pas and coming off the dance floor with a huge sweaty grin is the key to happiness and gorgeousness. It means you’ve got to put yourself out there.
“Somewhere along the line we exchange our shoe age for our chronological age, and I’m not entirely sure it’s at all a good thing.”
Reboot your thinking
A staycation is the perfect opportunity to reboot your thinking, according to personal development coach Bernardo Moya.
“Take time to visualise and focus on what you want, not what you don’t want,” he says.
“When you vividly imagine achieving your goals, you trigger a whole series of subconscious processes that will help you reach your target. You will be working toward your goals without even knowing it.
“If you’re not sure what you want, the answer may lie in your past. Look back for clues and valuable information about what you really enjoy doing and who you are. Then focus on finding ways to do more of that – of what brings you passion and purpose.”
Indulge in good mood food
Family wellbeing expert Danni Binnigton of healthywholeme.com says we should ever underestimate the impact of food on our mood.
“To me holidaying is all about indulging,” she says. “Indulging in a new culture, foods, into being lazy or adventurous. It’s also about not having to cook every single meal for myself and my family, which is such a big treat.
“There’s one recipe that I make at home that gives me some of that feeling of indulging, and it’s super easy to make. It’s my Nut Butter Date Boats with frozen raspberry fillings. Simply cut in half a juicy date, spread your nut butter on top and top with a frozen raspberry (if you don’t have frozen raspberries you could also pop a walnut half or pecan on top). And then indulge!
“Eat slowly and absorb that mini moment of bliss. Voila – healthy, simple, sunshine on a plate.”
Harmonise your mind and body
Physical intelligence experts Claire Dale and Patricia Peyton, who have co-written the book Physical Intelligence, say that even when we think we’re relaxed, we may have residual muscle tension and shallow breathing.
“To make sure you’re truly relaxed, try meditative breathing,” suggest the authors.
“Breathe diaphragmatically while counting each breath in and out up to 10, or try sequential relaxation by tensing and releasing muscle groups sequentially throughout the body. Work from toes to head, tensing on the out-breath for a count of five, holding for five, and releasing on the in-breath for a count of five.
“Retreat with time in nature, yoga and with family and friends. Experiment with healthy foods and drink lots of water. Make sure you wake without an alarm and get seven hours’ of sleep minimum daily.
“Minimise addictive treats such as sugar and alcohol and use your energy wisely by balancing high energy activities with opportunities to recharge.”
Try some of Rescue Remedy’s tips for a fun family fake-ation!
Have a camp out – or camp in!
Camping is all about the atmosphere, so if you’re not able to go away, bring the essence of camping to your house. Whether you own a tent or not, you can easily recreate a camping experience indoors. If you don’t have one, build a fort using sheets and blankets, chairs or other bits of furniture. If you’ve got a garden and the weather is okay, bring all of these ideas outside!
- Put up your tent or fort and lay out the sleeping bags.
- Hide some stuffed toys around the room or garden to send the kids on a safari.
- Add a little bit of reality by turning out the lights and using torches instead.
- Hang some fairy lights across the room to replicate the night sky.
- Eat a camp-side dessert, made up of s’mores and roasted marshmallows.
- Put some outdoor animal sounds in the background on your phone.
Journey around the world from home
Though you might not be able to explore the world this Summer, with a little imagination and creativity, you can bring those holiday destinations to you. Every day, or week, pick a new destination that you want to ‘visit’.
From there, look up local recipes, mocktails and cocktails for the adults. Think homemade pizzas for your Italian inspiration, enchiladas for a Mexican flare or some tapas for a taste of Spain.
You can play music from the country, watch videos or a documentary and even do a cultural trivia quiz at the end of the day. If you’d like to delve into it a little more, learn a few sentences and words in the country’s language and challenge each other to see who can learn the most.