When the going gets tough, it’s tempting to reach for the holiday brochures and jet off to sunnier climes. When we imagine ourselves on holiday, we’re likely to picture a happier, more relaxed, and spontaneous version of ourselves. But isn’t life too short for our ‘happy peaks’ to fall exclusively on our annual leave?
Positive psychology – a branch of psychology – focuses on what components help us achieve happy and fulfilling lives. Research shows that whilst our genes play a large role in determining our happiness levels, a whopping 40% is down to our daily behaviour and thoughts. Only 10% is due to “life circumstances” such as being on holiday. So when it comes to happiness, so much is within our control and we don’t need the backdrop of a Caribbean beach to feel upbeat.
Instead, we can adopt our happiness-fostering behaviours from holiday and implement them in everyday life. Let’s face it, holidays are still an unknown this year so why wait when you can make your own happiness at home?
Look on the bright side
When we’re away, we naturally fall into the ‘glass half full’ camp. We tend to make the most of every opportunity and even when things going awry, we put it down to an interesting experience or a funny story to tell our friends back home. So try and channel this positivity in everyday life. Immerse yourself in every situation and try and see the silver lining.
Plenty of shut-eye, morning smoothies and beach runs. Holidays are often seen as an opportunity to prioritise our health and look after our bodies and mind. It feels great to recharge the batteries, so cherish your health in the same way at home. Routines have massively shifted since the pandemic began and many have found mental burnout particularly problematic so actually taking some time out even when you can’t hop on a plane is super important. Prioritise eating healthily, regular exercise and finding time to relax and unwind. Break that WFH routine and you’ll feel a whole lot more refreshed.
Practice holiday mindfulness
Notice how a coffee tastes that much better when we’re away? It may partly be down to the coffee beans or barrister skills, but it may also be that we just savour the taste more as we have the time and focus to enjoy it. We tend to live in the moment more when we’re on holiday. We’re thirsty for new experiences and we absorb them like a sponge: focusing on the here and now. In our daily lives, however, we tend to get easily distracted or go through our routine on autopilot. We’re more likely to chug back a coffee whilst we’re glued to our computer screen, barely contemplating if we’re actually enjoying it! By adopting mindfulness at home, you’ll find happiness in the present.
Holidays generally encourage us to part with our gadgets and be less reliant on digital communication. How refreshing it can feel to leave your phone in your hotel room all day. It feels liberating to literally switch off and have some personal down-time.
This is harder to do at home, we get that. But you can allocate yourself some tech-free time each day. This is especially important before bed: don’t keep your phone on your bedside table.
Not so long ago, people managed fine without smartphones and laptops so the world won’t crumble if you live your life tech-free for a few hours!
Re-connect with others
The best thing about a holiday is often the people you’ve gone with and after the past year, re-establishing social connection is more important than ever before. Spending quality time with your nearest and dearest can really nourish the soul and luckily with restrictions easing, it’s now possible! Study after study shows that so much of our happiness is down to our close social ties, so it’s really important to make sure you allow time in your busy schedule to connect with friends and family. Recapture that holiday magic by arranging face-to-face time with your loved ones, even if it’s for a catch-up or stroll in the park.