Holidays are supposed to be breaks during which we can relax and restore our energy levels. However, for many of us, they are a catch-22. While we are trying to make the most out of our few free days, the planning and fear of missing out can put additional stress on us instead of relieving us from the pressures of the day-to-day.
How can we help ourselves plan more relaxing holidays?
Pre, during & after holiday stress
A healthy work-life balance is a big topic in today’s society. The reason for this focus is that for many workers, reaching this balance is pretty much impossible under the current circumstances. Several studies have found that holidaymakers are not happier than non-holidaymakers after they have returned from a break.
A lot of this has to do with thinking about the mountain of work we have to prepare before a holiday and what will be waiting for us when we return. The rest of the problem stems from feelings of shame and anxiety that are building up because our society has such a high focus on “the hustle”.
Even though paid holidays are theoretically a thing that was earned through hard labor, many workers feel bad for allowing themselves to take a break. This notion is especially prevalent in the US, where 52% of American workers leave some of their vacation time unused. Similar sentiments can be found in the UK and the rest of the world.
How to de-stress holiday planning
One way to enable ourselves to relax during a holiday is clearly rooted in psychology, and we need to put in a lot of work to be able to accept these breaks as something we deserve. This process can take years. In the meantime, the rest of the stress can be lessened by using some helpful strategies when planning a holiday.
Apps & online platforms
Our modern era provides us with many helpful tools for holiday planning. For example, comparison websites for things like airport parking, like Parkos, help us limit the financial burden a holiday will put on us. When we find cheap prices for airport parking, we can enjoy the flexibility and privacy of driving to the airport in our own car instead of taking public transport.
Similarly, there are several apps that have helpful features:
- Hopper: The free app notifies you anytime a flight you might be interested in has gone down in price.
- GasBuddy: When you take your car or rent one, GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest petrol stations nearby.
- HotelTonight: This app helps you find the cheapest last-minute hotel bookings.
- CityMapper: CityMapper helps you navigate public transport in foreign metropolitan cities.
The topic of money is a great source of stress. Things like apps and online platforms can help you find the cheapest prices for many services. You can also use many accounting or personal planning software and apps to create budget plans.
It is easier to relax if you know exactly how much money you have, how much you can spend, and which activities. you can plan for in turn.
At the very least, keeping your budget and spending in check will help you limit post-holiday stress caused by overspending.
Budget planning and conversations about money are especially important when we are travelling with other people, like a group of friends, whose capital and standards differ. Only when you are all in agreement about the things you can and want to spend money on can you enjoy a relaxing holiday together without causing discussions, fights, or exclusion.
Trying something new
If you feel like your holidays in the past have not relaxed you, it might be time to try something new. Even if you aren’t an outdoorsy person in your day-to-day, try an active holiday when your usual beach holidays aren’t doing the trick.
Many people have a hard time relaxing when doing nothing but force themselves to do so because they feel like that’s what you are supposed to be doing on holiday.
Instead, try to plan more activities during your holidays. Sometimes experiencing new things can help the time feel less wasted and help you wind down, even though your day is theoretically more stressful on an activity level.
Relaxing is not easy. Our hustle-culture today often leaves us anxious when we are supposed to take it slow. While a lot of work must be put into switching this philosophy up, some strategies can help us reduce stress before, during and after holidays more directly.
Apps and online tools like comparison websites help us plan and find cheap prices. A good budget plan helps us make decisions and not worry about unclear financial situations. Communication about things like money is important to avoid conflicts, especially when travelling in groups.
Finally, when doing nothing causes you distress, it might be time to try active & outdoor holidays, even when they are usually not your first choice.