What type of holiday is best for your mental state?

Posted on May 17, 2016

Clinical psychologist Linda Blair, author of “The Key to Calm,” suggests that those who are stressed should take shorter breaks more frequently, as opposed to one long holiday. “You’ve got to bring down those chronically high cortisol levels as often as possible,” she says. And those with such anxiety should aim to return to familiar destinations, as “all change is stressful, even good change.”

Meanwhile, someone who’s just retired might go on a vacation for several weeks. Blair says it takes three weeks to break a habit, and so a long holiday would get the retiree out of the mindset of waking for work at a set time. “You’d come back much better equipped to start fresh,” she adds.

Finally, though there can be no one prescribed holiday for everyone in such difficult circumstances, Blair suggests that someone who’s suffered a loss might take a vacation where there’s a limited amount of social interaction. For example, someone living in London might take a break in Paris, and simply spend a week sitting in cafes. “Something where you could watch life, and smile and be smiled back at,” she says. “Starting to feel you belong but you don’t have to push yourself too hard.”

Judie Fein, a travel writer who focuses on the psychological and transformative aspects of vacations, advocates a pre-planned holiday such as a cruise for someone with stress, and a strict limit on checking emails. Someone who’s depressed, meanwhile, might want to go on a holiday with light physical activity, perhaps a spiritual element such as yoga or meditation, or else volunteering opportunities.

A vacation is not a luxury but a necessity, she says. “Our lives are completely out of balance, and a vacation is an enforced way to change the rhythm of your life, to expose your mind and heart to new things. It gives you some perspective.”

Source material from Quartz

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