As the summer holiday season continues, how do you hang on to that wonderful away-from-it-all feeling - even after the tan has faded?

Wish you were where?

Twelve months is too long to wait for that heady holiday feeling to return. And once you understand why it is that holidays help us feel good then you won’t have to wait:  you can conjure up the glow of Malaga or Malibu in Milton Keynes or Manchester, whatever the weather…

1. Time is on your side: unless you’d sooner leave behind your toothbrush than travel without your laptop then the annual two weeks may be the only time you truly snatch some time to yourself all year. Even if the tribe went with you, the chances are your holiday featured some time stretched out in silence or gazing quietly at a view. For many of us, peace and time to ourselves is in shorter supply than a sunny day. And yet it’s only when we’re still that we can hear and respond to our inner thoughts, and notice and appreciate what we do have in our lives and the beauty and richness around.

Try building ‘sunbathing’ time into every day, whether you choose 10 minutes meditation, taking a long bath in silence, or sitting on the park bench closest to your office. Where you are is not important. Doing absolutely nothing is!

2. Five alive:  another wonderful thing about holidays is the way we feel more alive because all five senses suddenly awaken; tuned into the unfamiliar smells, sights, sounds of a new location and the feel of fresh air on our skin. 

Make a point of using your senses more, even if it’s only to enjoy the cocktail of smells coming from Starbucks at the local shopping centre, or the sight of fields turning to gold. At least once every day stop and really absorb your surroundings using all your senses.

3. An appetite for life: meals on holiday are usually an occasion: slow, relaxing, sociable affairs, which actually give you a chance to enjoy the food along with the company.  Yet at home we slip easily back into tv dinners and the sandwich-in-front-of-the-computer-screen routine.

Make mealtimes one of your life’s pleasures rather than necessities by focusing on the food, surroundings and, if you can sit down with friends or family a few times a week, the company.

4. Welcome stranger: even if summer is a soggy squib, there’s no need to hibernate. Most of us love exploring a new place when we’re on holiday – but we forget there are plenty of hidden corners and fascinating surprises in our own back yard.

Award yourself a mini-break by becoming a tourist in your own home town. There’ll be stacks of ideas at the local library or in the pages of the local paper. Visit somewhere you’ve never been before.

5. A fine romance: if you’re young, free and single, then your holiday’s unlikely to feel complete without at least a whiff of romance. Yet we all feel more alive, more capable of reaching our potential, when we feel loved and appreciated. It’s a mistake to believe we have to wait for love to arrive like a beautiful shell washed up on the beach.  As the song says, the greatest love of all is learning to love ourselves. Show people how to treat you by treating yourself with love and appreciation.

Romance yourself as you would any loved one, with flowers or chocolates, dressing up for yourself, telling yourself that you love and approve of the person you are.

6. New horizons: it isn’t only new sights that are an important part of the holiday experience. Sometimes distance also brings insights – into the things we want or need to change in our lives.  If you really can’t seem to drag yourself out of that post-holiday slump then it may be time to look hard at any areas of your life that need attention, be that work, your health, home situation, relationship, or even your feelings about yourself.

If these feelings persist don’t try and shut the lid on them the way you did your suitcase. Resolve to start taking steps towards making change, find a workshop to help you (I’d love to see you at one of mine) or,  if necessary, seek professional support. With a little of the discipline the Germans bring to claiming sunbeds, you can turn things around and be glad to be here rather than wishing you were there!

Free downloads

A selection of articles and worksheets for you to download

Meditation for beginners (download 2.7mb)

Time for you? A new approach to time management (download 2.7mb)

How to be present in your life: the art of mindfulness (download 2.7mb)

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