Relax! How to make holidays truly restful

For many people, the summer holidays are the best part of the year. We have put together several tips in this article on how to achieve real relaxation – regardless of whether you want to pause or have exciting experiences, change the wallpaper, recharge, simply reminisce, or even have a new start.

Rest must be measured differently to everyday life

In everyday life, we have trained ourselves to use time efficiently. We stand at the supermarket checkout and look at our emails – private as well as professional. Being constantly available has become normalised in the past few years. And whether we notice it or not: this way of being creates a permanent state of underlying stress. We are completely unaware that this was not always the case. And yet, we are the first generation of people for whom it has been like this. People who suffer from headaches can attest that stress is a breeding ground and trigger for migraine attacks as well as tension headaches. This is why it is particularly important to counteract this while on holiday.

Meaningful time management is important

One recommendation is not to begin a planned trip on the very first day of your holiday. It can be very helpful to plan (at least) one day as a “buffer”. What you do on this day can be very different for everybody. It is up to each person to decide for themselves whether they will still complete some small tasks, so that they no longer have to think about them, go through their travel gear or simply have a breather. The key thing is that your time off can start without stress. This way, you will already be feeling slightly relaxed and looking forward to the holiday before it even begins.

Creating contrast to your everyday life

For many people, it’s helpful to create a genuine contrast/counterpoint to everyday stress while on holiday – whether travelling or at home. If you spend a lot of time at your desk at work, you might benefit from activities in the fresh air or in nature, for example. Day trips, going climbing or hiking, a day spent cycling, all of this can be done on your doorstep as well as on holiday. People who spend a lot of time with others in everyday life may well be craving peace and quiet, and can make sure they don’t have too much hustle and bustle around them. The guiding principle should be this question: “What do I want to do today, what would do me good?”. The fact that you are even able to consider/pay attention to this question, with no pressure, is already great for preventing stress.

Your mind also needs a break

Even when we’re on holiday, we do not leave behind our defining characteristics when we leave the house. Particularly people who are very responsible find it difficult to set aside work tasks and projects for a while. However, even the little things from work which we mentally take with us on holiday can literally mess up the trip. It is therefore always advisable to finish work assignments before the holiday begins, or at least identify a step which you can mentally tick off as “complete”, as a kind of self-preservation, so that you can actually let go of the ongoing project.

Why not forget about time for a while?

Sometimes, it can be helpful to consciously give up knowing the exact time while on holiday. For this reason, some people remove their watch on the first day of the holidays and put it in a drawer. Many people who do this report that the pace of the day slows down massively. If we also limit the number of “appointments”, days feel significantly longer. Try it for yourself. Your mind is happiest when it’s off the clock.

Digital moderation

Presumably, most of us will bring our smartphone or maybe a laptop when we travel. This is not necessarily a problem. However, you should try not to have your devices permanently switched on, like in everyday life, or to follow the same routines as usual. If you only switch on your devices when necessary – for example, to find the location of a restaurant or to look up the opening times of an exhibition – you will be surprised after a few days how few of your “missed” notifications would actually have been of interest to you.

Practise patience

It is entirely possible that the holiday feeling will not set in right at the beginning. A little bit of patience is helpful here for leaving stress behind. If the holidays are filled with lots of expectations, then you are preprogrammed for dissatisfaction. Therefore, you should not judge a day based on what you experienced, but based on how you were feeling. A holiday is not something you complete like you would a task at work. It just happens, so you also have to leave room for chance. If we allow ourselves to “waste” time and to deliberately miss out on some “opportunities”, we are giving in to a spontaneous idea. We then have a better chance of relaxing, having creative ideas, and recharging.

A break from headache

If you relax on your holidays, you will be delighted to discover how restful it can be when all the tasks which normally feel incredibly urgent and like they need to be done straight away can fade into the background. And if everyday stress is far away, there is a good chance that recurring headaches can also be out of sight and out of mind. However, for people who sometimes suffer from recurring tension headaches or migraine, it is still extremely important to follow the basic rules of headache prevention while on holiday in order to have as few symptoms as possible. Regular meals, drinking enough water – especially in hot climates or during physical exertion – and regular, restful sleep are still possible (and necessary) when you let yourself drift calmly through the day. In this way, summer can bring two types of rest: from everyday life, and from headaches.