Now and then, everyone feels the need to get away from it all and recharge their batteries. Studies show a short break does wonders for your mental, emotional and physical health – in fact, international studies have even found that heading off to the beach or spa resort accommodation now and then enhances happiness, general wellbeing and even brain function.
Part of this effect has to do with the minerals contained in both seawater and mineral pools – magnesium, potassium and iodine can all help your body fight infection. Breathing in the salty sea air helps your respiratory system and promotes and great night’s sleep while the colour blue enhances feelings of peace and calm.
Water views and sounds also can create a gentle, meditative state, changing your brain wave frequency, activating your parasympathetic nervous system and de-stimulating your brain.
All of which are pretty compelling reasons to book a small getaway as soon as possible!
Here are our top tips for making the most of your limited time off:
- Stay in one place. A short break isn't long enough to run all over the countryside – at least if you aim to relax and recharge. Choose one activity or destination that appeals to you and stick to it – whether it's a soak in a thermal spring, feeling the sand between your toes (also proven to be good for your wellbeing), shopping up a storm or fine dining all the way.
- Choose somewhere close. Your time is short – you don’t have the luxury of travelling for half a day to get to your destination. So look for things to do just an hour from your home. That way you can make the most of your time having fun (and you’ll save money, too).
- Consider local resort hotels. Nothing says ‘holiday' like resort accommodation. Even if you never leave the hotel, you can access pools, restaurants, room service, spa facilities and massages. Book directly with the hotel, and you can get some amazing deals – such as room upgrades, free parking, breakfast and spa appointments. If you’re dreaming of a tropical holiday but don’t have the ready cash, fake it at a swish local resort instead.
- What about theme accommodation. A few years ago I had my heart set on spontaneously spending my birthday in Japan. I spent a whole day researching flights and accommodation in Kyoto and got excited about the prospect of just heading off overseas on spec. Then I checked the weather forecast. Torrential rain was predicted for all of Japan. So instead I booked into traditional Japanese-themed resort accommodation only thirty minutes from home. It had tatami mats, Japanese cuisine, a traditional Japanese bathhouse and a stunning private Japanese courtyard – the whole experience I'd imagined (until I walked out the hotel door) but no jet lag and at a fraction of the cost. Bliss!
- Check out package deals. If you've got your heart set on a long weekend away, that's far, far away but you're not wedded to a particular destination, look for package deals that bundle up flights, car hire, airport transports and accommodation. Most online hotel booking sites will have a range of last minute deals for all budgets, and you can get some pretty sweet discounts if you go looking for them.