In the immediate afterglow of a holiday, it’s easy to feel smug. You have a tan, your out-of-office reply has diverted problems elsewhere, and for now, you’re pretty zen. It never lasts long, though, does it? One elbow jab from a fellow commuter and all proclamations of “I’m actually quite ready to go back to work” suddenly seem like total insanity.
The fact is that while your holiday was beneficial, the after-effects dissipate much too soon, and before long you’re back on Airbnb trying to schedule in more sunbathing time. However, there are ways you can ensure your next trip is—dare we say it?—life changing, simply by picking up habits that will improve your day-to-day long after your travels are over. Keep scrolling for inspiration.
FIND SOME HEADSPACE
You’ve heard that meditation is good for refocusing your mind, but you never have time to try it at home, and it just feels wrong on the commute to work. You’ll be grateful you held off when you realise how great a location the beach, a poolside sun lounger or even your hotel room can be for your very first session. Download the Headspace app before you fly, and on your first try, tune in in the morning. The app recommends you do it at the same time every day, as it’s easier to form a new habit this way. You can run with the basic pack or try add-ons, which will talk you through anything from managing anxiety to rebooting your exercise regimen.
GET A GLOW
“Life changing” might be a push, but a holiday is certainly a good time to up your glow and embrace beauty rituals that have a longer-lasting effect on your hair and skin. Make this the week you try something new for your face: a jade roller or Foreo Luna Play Cleansing Brush (£29), which both have the ability to de-puff and brighten up an overworked complexion. Teaming these tools with a massaging technique and some serious R&R will triple the “you look well” compliments when you get home, and the routine will have become a habit by then. Add radiance to your hair, too, with Ouai Sun of a Beach, a luxe take on Sun-In that gently lifts your highlights while you’re lounging poolside. Perfect if you’re thinking of trying ombré.
MAKE MEMORIES, NOT #CONTENT
Snap. Filter. Post. These days, it seems a photo isn’t worth taking unless it pairs well with a pithy caption and gets you hundreds of Instagram likes. Instead of letting your holiday turn into a social media photo shoot, leave your phone at the hotel and document your trip on a traditional digital camera. Not only will you end up with a wider range of photos from your trip (less of you in front of the same Insta-friendly pink wall), but you’ll also spend more time making real memories that don’t involve staring at your notifications.
TURN TO TED TALKS
Park the holiday playlist for a moment and track down some inspirational TED Talks. There are literally hundreds that offer words of enlightenment on travel and finding that all-important work/life balance. The variety is pretty overwhelming, but there are three that have made it on my personal list. Just add a sun lounger, a glass of white wine (with ice) and an open mind.
The fact is that many of us skimp on sleep, unaware it’s the very thing that will make us more successful when chasing our dreams. I’m guilty of too many late nights followed by early mornings (rinse and repeat), so I’m relying on Ariannna Huffington’s sage advice to change my mindset—and my bedtime routine.
From Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, this talk is a helpful reminder of how important it is to return to the things you love when you’re starting to feel a little lost. One for those who think they’re in a rut, it will inspire you pick up an old passion or embrace (post-holiday!) with a new sense of vigour.
If, like me, you feel like one or two weeks away is never enough, get some late gap year inspiration from travel writer Tomislav Perko. Money is the obvious obstacle that prevents many of us from chasing this dream, but these tips might have you ripping up the plane ticket home.
This is less about changing your life on holiday and more about bettering your everyday beforehand. If you're looking for incentive to start planning next year’s trip now, just keep reading. According to studies, people feel happier spending money on experiences over objects, and are likely to enjoy a holiday more if they’ve booked it well in advance. In fact, research suggests that mapping out the itinerary and anticipating your trip can you make you happier than actually being away. All the more reason to always have a holiday booked.
START A JOURNAL
It’s widely believed that everyone can benefit from writing a journal. The process of jotting down the good points from your day—as well as any worries you might have—is said to help you sleep better, feel more relaxed and and put you in the right head space to solve problems with a clear mind. It can be tricky to feel inspired to write when your routine is work, eat, Love Island, repeat, but kicking off a journal on holiday means your first few pages will be full of adventures. Just be sure to continue this new hobby at home; it’ll fast become one of your most effective tools when dealing with stress and navigating tricky periods. ■
Here's hoping we can all shake off a little of those post-holiday blues.