A summer vacation is the ideal prescription for stress, right? Well, not necessarily. It seems that while we are under pressure we almost order our bodies to stay fit but as soon as we relax, the body takes its opportunity to sink into sickness. It’s why so often we go away only to fall sick.
Mainstream doctors may be skeptical but holistic therapists accept that the body's energy levels and immune system can be affected by a sudden change of environment. The most frequent holiday sicknesses are simple but debilitating colds and flu although sinus problems, coughs and chest infections are also common.
It’s not just the body that suffers - our psychological health is under stress as well when we go away. When we are working flat-out we don't have time to stop and think about our lives. When we go away we suddenly have time to think about what's going on and all too often we don’t like what we find out.
The problem is that one lone week is simply not enough, particularly if you’re very stressed. If you can only manage a week, then opt for an active holiday – walking is ideal. You get the benefit of the holiday because you are changing your environment and you're not doing mental work.
In a perfect world we would have at least five weeks’ holiday a year. Two one-week holidays which are active (say, a week’s skiing at Christmas and a week swimming and walking at Easter). Then, come summer, a good three week holiday. You need one week to be ill, one to recover and one more to build up your energy.
But who has that luxury? Let’s look at simple ways to help avoid sun, sea and sickness syndrome…
8 Ways to Let Go and Relax On Vacation
- Give yourself plenty of time to get everything sorted before you leave. Arrange for your work to be covered, someone to look after pets and water the plants. Don't leave everything to the last minute and panic.
- When you arrive don't race straight out and neck alcohol to relax. Lie down and slow yourself down, do a relaxation exercise (see below) and then and only then have that drink - and really enjoy it. We’d suggest adding Tension Tonic to your beach bag!
- Don't take work on holiday with you. Read something you really enjoy and make sure it's escapist - nothing to do with reality. If you possibly can, have a digital detox – leave the laptop at home and switch off the smartphone. Seriously!
- Wear clothes that are completely different from what you usually wear. If you normally wear sober suits, take something bright and cheerful.
- For the first few days it's quite usual for worries to come into your mind. As each worry surfaces, write it down so you can see it in black and white. Then either deal with it or decide it's out of your control. Once you've made your decision throw the paper away. Our Nonstop Thoughts blend can help with this exercise.
- Practice simple relaxation techniques to help switch off. Make yourself comfortable and shut your eyes. Start by breathing calmly. Now systemically tense and relax each part of the body. Next imagine yourself in a beautiful, calm, safe place. Stay there for 10 minutes or so and then slowly bring yourself back. Meditation Guru can deepen the experience.
- Exercise can be a good source of relaxation but only do what you find fun and what makes you feel good.
- Play - splash in the water, build sandcastles, lose your inhibitions. If you've got children you've got the ideal opportunity to join in with them and go back to being a child. Dab on some Optimism to free up your joy!
Your Aroma Travel Essentials
- Travel Companion – helps with any kind of travel sickness and also fends off bugs from fellow travelers.
- Breathe Easy – if you do go down with the snuffles, this is your best friend.
- Headache Helper – too much sun, too much alcohol? Reach for this soothing blend.
- Tension Tonic – the anti-stress blend, to help you relax and let go.
- Peaceful Slumber – sometimes it’s hard to sleep when you’re in a strange bed, or going through time zones. This can help.
Anti-stress Vacation Spritzer
Make your own spritz to help keep everyone feeling calm and centered. You can keep this blend in your room or purse, and just spritz it on whenever you want to feel calm and centered.
- 4 oz (120 ml) glass spray bottle
- 3 oz (90 ml) Frankincense hydrosol (Boswellia carterii)
- 1 oz (30 ml) Spearmint hydrosol (Mentha spicata)
We recommend making these products fresh every few weeks. This hydrosol blend will take only a few minutes to make, and then you have a beautiful, Aromatherapy product you can use throughout your vacation. Enjoy!