How to switch off and relax on holiday

Anyone that knows me will know that this is probably the most hypocritical thing I have ever written. I’m telling people how to relax on holiday, knowing full well that I can’t sit still for two minutes knowing there’s plenty to explore. In the few minutes I do stop, it’s to check my emails and keep up with what’s going on at work – even though I only actually work part time.

However, after my latest holiday to Nerja (keep your eyes peeled for a post on it), I’ve come to the realisation that things have to change. On the last full day of my holiday, I only left the room to get snacks for the day and then returned to my bed to binge watch The Undateables or to read the books I downloaded for the trip. I didn’t want to waste the sunshine, but I so physically exhausted from all the excursions and walking. Even now, when I’ve been back a few days, I can still feel a lingering pain in my calves where I must have pulled a muscle hiking around Frigiliana (a town in the mountains).

How to relax on holiday

A holiday should be a break from reality, a change of scenery and mindset where you can forget your worries and give yourself a well deserved rest.

On average, it takes British people up to 2 full days to relax on holiday so the team at Hayes & Jarvis came up with, ‘The Four Pillars of Holiday Relaxation,” to help combat people bringing their day-to-day stress away with them. I think they’ve hit the nail on the head so here are my favourite tips from them and a few of my own experiences to support their claims.


Get your swim on!

Swimming always helps me to clear my mind and the link between water and stress has been scientifically proven. How can you argue with that?

Go sightseeing

“It’s amazing how far you walk in a day when taking in the sights – you can easily fit in 10,000 steps
before lunchtime, without even noticing,” (Ceri Wheeldon – Editor of Fab after Fifty). I realised this after visiting the Cuevas de Nerja. Not only did myself and my partner climb a ridiculous amount of stairs during my audio-guided tour through the different chambers of the cave, but we also couldn’t manage to flag down a taxi and had to walk the 5km back to the hotel. We definitely fit in lots of unintentional sightseeing and got plenty of exercise.

How to relax on holiday
Actual data to show how many daily steps I did the week before my holiday and how many I did during it.


Let go of any expectations

You don’t need to have a plan when you’re on holiday, not unless you’ve booked an excursion and have a designated pick up time and point. I thought I’d be up at 8am to get some sun and then go out for breakfast for 10am, but some days I just wanted to relax and sleep in.  You don’t need to over plan or make a big deal out of anything and get frustrated if it doesn’t work out as expected, just enjoy the moment.

Look at life through the lens of a camera

Apparently getting snap happy is beneficial for your health, so please excuse the excessive amount I tend to take when I go away! Focusing your attention on getting that perfect photo helps you practice mindfulness, and scrolling through filters allows you to unleash your creativeness.

How to relax on holiday


Keep your phone out of sight

I’m on one of those essential SIM-only plans that mean I don’t actually get free roaming (ugh), so I barely take my phone with me when I’m abroad. I literally only use it as a replacement camera and for absolute emergencies. I’m guilty of checking my emails and social media too often, so it’s nice to relax and have a break from it all. It was great to be able to see attractions and beauty spots, rather than an OLED screen. Also, it was fun to reconnect with everyone and have a good chat, without the interruption of a phone vibration.

How to relax on holiday


Stay hydrated

The best thing to do on holiday is stock up the fridge with water, pop and maybe some chocolate (what diet?). It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re in a hotter climate and when you’re being more active than usual. Healthy(ish) body, healthy mind?

Enjoy the meals that you eat

Now that you’re actually on holiday, what’s the point in counting calories and trying to eat healthily? It’s your reward and a well deserved break, so you might as well relax and eat for pleasure! Sometimes places can give out massive portions, but don’t force yourself to eat if you’re full. We went to a great restaurant in Nerja that offered an all you can eat meat buffet, where the waiters came around and carved it in front of you. Everything was delicious and the food just kept on coming, but I knew if I had any more, I probably make myself poorly.

How to relax on holiday

I’m hoping that some of these tips sink in and that I can make the most of my next holiday. There’s nothing worse than coming home and feeling like you need another holiday to recover from the one you’ve just had.

Do you have any tips on how to relax on holiday? Let me know in the comments below!

4 Replies to “How to switch off and relax on holiday”

    1. Wow, that’s incredible. I’m not even that productive at home! I hope you had a great holiday regardless and had at least some time to chill out 🙂

  1. I’m a nightmare on holiday! I’m really not v good at relaxing, but I’ve got better in recent years! I totally relate to walking so much you knacker yourself out!!

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