There’s no question that travel and holidays can increase our wellbeing,’ says Miriam Akhtar, a positive psychologist and author of The Little Book of Happiness (Octopus, £7.99). ‘Think of all the different reasons why we may choose to travel. It’s a form of play, it’s a reward, it can mean freedom and autonomy. A holiday might involve adventure, exposure to new experiences and cultures. It’s a chance to relax, counter the stress of daily life, to reflect and reset. Travel provides an opportunity for personal growth – we can expand our world view and sense of self.’ Travel means different things to us at different times in life. As a rule, says Akhtar, we connect it with hedonism in our younger years and with finding meaning and importance as we grow older.
Wellbeing Boost on Travel and Holidays Photo Gallery
It’s worth having a think about what you hope to gain from any holiday experience before you get there, so you can tailor your itinerary accordingly,’ she suggests. According to Akhtar there are three major dimensions to wellbeing: people, pleasure and purpose. ‘People refers to our social wellbeing,’ she explains. ‘Through travel we can share experiences with loved ones, spend time together or meet new people. Pleasure means our hedonistic wellbeing – the sun, sea, sand and sex of holidays. Purpose is also known as our eudaimonic wellbeing and it brings meaning and purpose to our lives, broadening our minds.’ So for a holiday to boost your all-round wellbeing, think about how you can incorporate all three of these dimensions.
Health & Fitness Beat holiday stress What happens when the reality of holiday planning kicks in – you’ve got too much work to cram in, no time to pack, you’re already dreading the flight and fighting the inevitable bikini-body angst? The key is to work out what type of holidayer you are, says Akhtar. ‘People who are most comfortable with travel are curious, open and creative types,’ she says. ‘They seek out euphoric experiences, taking an interest in an experience for its own sake. They’re after a hit of dopamine, the brain’s reward neurotransmitter.
The downside is they can be more unpredictable, lack focus and engage in risky behaviour At the other end of the scale are the travel-cautious. ‘They’re traditionalists, they like tried-and-tested experiences, to know where they’re going, how they’re getting there and what will happen when they do. This might make them less open to new experiences but they thrive when there’s a sense of safety and security. Comfort is key.’
Whether you’re travel-curious or travel-cautious or somewhere in between, the way to a stress-free holiday is to recognise what you want and plan accordingly. ‘If you’re curious, you’ll feel limited by an all-inclusive trip; if you’re cautious, you’ll feel too stressed travelling without an itinerary,’ she says. Knowing you’ve booked the right trip for you will make dealing with those last-minute stresses much easier If you want to find out more about your character strengths, try the survey at viacharacter.org. For preparation and packing advice for any type of trip, visit theholidaylet.com/checklist.
O6A.Vogel Stress Relief Daytime, £10.50 for 50ml, health stores and pharmacies. A herbal tincture of fresh valerian and hops, proven to help relieve stress. It works by increasing levels of calming neurotransmitters, allowing you to relax and enjoy your break. Take 20 drops in water, two to three times daily. O6Australian Bush Flower Essences Travel Mist, £14.95 for 50ml, baldwins. co.uk. A blend of botanical essences from plants such as bush iris, paw paw and silver princess, this helps you feel balanced and calm when travelling, and is especially useful for fear of flying. Spray around you or use as a facial mist. O6A.Vogel Echinaforce Sore Throat Spray, £10.99 for 30ml, independent heath stores. Not just for sore throats! This potent combination of fresh herbal echinacea and sage extracts helps protect against upper respiratory tract infections.
An essential for your in-flight bag to see off germs from fellow passengers. O6OptiBac Probiotics For Travelling Abroad, £24.99 for 60, independent heath stores. Protect yourself from Delhi Belly. This formulation was created specially for exotic destinations, is able to survive in hotter, more humid climates, and contains four well-researched strains of bacteria for holiday tummy troubles. O6Silicolgel, £8.29 for 200ml, boots. com. Great travel insurance for diarrhoea or stressed out tummies through fear of flying, or for IBS sufferers and anyone with a sensitive tum to line their digestive tract before eating out. O6A.Vogel Stinging Nettle Urtica drops, £10.50 for 50ml, independent health stores. This fast-acting herbal remedy uses stinging nettles to counter the high histamine levels that can trigger prickly heat, urticaria and other allergic, itchy skin reactions. O6HayMax Organic Allergen Barrier Balm, £6.99 for 5ml, ethicalsuperstore. com. The drug- and drowsy-free way to stop pollen from entering your airways and eyes, to keep annoying hay fever at bay while you train outside.
YOUR HOLIDAY FIRST-AID KIT
Still confused about sun exposure versus vitamin D? Three separate studies have now concluded that wearing sunscreen does not stop your body from making vitamin D. ‘Sunlight is our main source of vitamin D,’ explains Professor Antony Young, author of one of the studies at King’s College London. ‘Sunscreens can prevent sunburn, skin cancer and premature ageing, but there has been a lot of uncertainty about the effects of sunscreens on vitamin D. Our study, during a week of perfect weather in Tenerife, showed that sunscreens, even when used optimally to prevent sunburn, still allowed excellent vitamin D synthesis.’ So there’s no reason not to wear decent, broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection this summer. Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN have teamed up for 2019 to promote the 1+2+3 safe-sun message: O6Seek shade Find a spot out of the sun between the hours of 11am- 3pm in the UK. O6Cover up with clothing Wear a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses whether you’re playing sport outside or lounging on the beach. O6Apply sunscreen Use plenty, with at least SPF 15, and four or more stars for optimum UVB and UVA protection.
SPORTY SUNSCREENS WE LOVE
If you’re going to be getting hot and sweaty, the last thing you want is a thick, greasy cream all over your body. But it’s really important not to forgo sun protection when you’re out and about – especially if you’re near water, which will reflect the rays further. Look for a sports-specific product that still gives high protection from UVA and UVB rays, but in a lighter, sweat- and water-resistant formulation. Don’t forget you can also use hats, sunglasses and lightweight clothing for added protection (some sports garments have UV filters).
Very high protection during sport Avène Sport Fluid SPF50+, £19 for 100ml, avene.co.uk Formulated for sensitive skins and those who play outdoor sports, this is water- and sweat-resistant. It feels light and breathable and isn’t oily. Ocean-friendly, it also boasts an antioxidant complex to protect against the oxidative stress caused by both sun exposure and physical exertion. BEST FOR: Face iS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF30, £64 for 100g, skincity.com Combining the latest anti-ageing technology with traditional sunscreens, this cream contains skin-defending ingredients with hydrating extracts and soothing aloe vera to protect, nourish and repair at a cellular level. It’s suitable for all skin types, even dry and sensitive skins.
Beach and poolside protection Vichy Capital Soleil Beach Protect Anti-Dehydration Spray SPF50, £18.50 for 200ml, vichy.co.uk This range is designed for use by the pool or on the beach, as Vichy believes salt, sand and water have an impact on your skin’s protection and hydration in the sun. Hyaluronic acid increases hydration and counters the drying effects of wind, sea and chlorine. BEST FOR: ‘Don’t know it’s there’ wear on active days Ultrasun SPF20 Sports Gel, £36 for 400ml, ocado.com This is transparent, easy to apply, quickly absorbed and doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy or sticky – or turn your sports kit yellow around the edges! Water- resistant and long-lasting, it’s ideal for endurance and water sports – and great for race days.
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