Have a stress-free holiday

13 August 2014 by
First published: 14 August 2014

Have you ever returned from a holiday feeling like you need another holiday to get over the one you just had? It’s time to have a stress-free holiday!

Aarti Tanna, Customer Relationship Manager at The Stress Management Society, says, ‘Stress on holiday can not only ruin your well-deserved trip, it also can have lasting effects on your physical and mental state when returning to work and your everyday routine.’

When we imagine our holiday we all picture ourselves relaxing on the beach, sipping cocktails and spending quality time with loved ones – but the reality can sometimes be pretty far from that. It is possible to have a stress-free holiday though – here are our top tips:

Start planning early
Spontaneity is great, but when you’re going on holiday it can leave you feeling stressed if you’re not prepared, so Aarti advises, ‘Make sure the details are sorted in advance, from the packing and travel arrangements to itineraries and excursions, make sure everything is planned beforehand so there are no nasty surprises upon arrival. Lists and to-do lists prior to travelling are a great way to organise yourself and ensure nothing is left behind. Pre-booking activities and excursions where possible can also add structure to the trip and reduce disappointment.’ Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean that all spontaneity goes out of the window – just having a little structure can tremendously reduce stress.

Pack light
If you’ve never experienced the sheer irritation of being told that your luggage is too heavy then count yourself lucky – it’s one of the most frustrating things, whether you are on your way to your holiday, or on your way home. It’s also ridiculously expensive! Save yourself this unnecessary stress by packing light – are you really going to need five pairs of shoes for one week? Think carefully about what you actually need to take before you start packing. It’ll also make your case easier to drag around when you get off the plane!

Be prepared
We’d all love to get from our front door to our holiday destination and back without any issues – sadly it very rarely works that way. ‘Delays and setbacks are likely to occur, so being ready and open to these will ensure less stress on holiday. Make contingency plans to help you deal with unexpected stumbling blocks and get the most out of your time away.’ Another instantly stressful situation is if someone on the holiday isn’t happy with the plans, Aarti has helpful advice: ‘involve your fellow travellers in the planning process. This will ensure the needs of the group are met and everybody gets the most out of the break.’

Leave work at home
Whether you’re a workaholic or just feel guilty if you don’t reply to your office emails as soon as you receive them, don’t take your work on holiday. Aarti says, ‘Turn your work phone and email alerts off to get the most of your well-deserved break. Plan for your return in advance and ensure all work duties are being taken care of before you leave, this way you can take your break without worries about work. Take the time to re-energise yourself so you can go back into work on full form and full of energy.’

Don’t forget the main reason that most of us book a holiday is to get away from everything and relax. Aarti advises, ‘Don’t over-schedule your days and aim to cram in too many activities at once, instead spread out your plans and allow time to relax and rest. Ensure long excursions are followed by time to unwind and relax by the pool so you get a chance to rest your mind and body before heading home.’

For more ways to combat stress, visit stress.org.uk.