What Is Holiday Stress?

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Holiday stress almost seems like an oxymoron. The whole point of a holiday surely is to get away from everything, to give yourself some ‘time off’ and to combat the mental fatigue that might be hindering you the rest of the time. You’ll be travelling far away to somewhere completely new and you’ll be spending time in the sun, exploring new places or splashing around in the pool. So how can it possible be a stressful thing?

Actually, holiday stress is a very real phenomenon and something that can prevent many people from fully enjoying their holidays the way they should be. Throughout this article then, we will look at what causes holidays stress and at how you can overcome it.

Where Does Holiday Stress Come From?

Despite a holiday being designed to help you fight stress, it can actually create many stressful issues that you might not have considered up front. These include:

  • Stress about the amount of money you’re spending
  • Stress at the idea of leaving the house for x amount of time and of leaving any pets
  • Stress that the hotel/airline might not have your reservation
  • Stress about waking up early and getting to the airport on time
  • Stress about travelling with heavy cases
  • Stress about taking time off of work and the amount of work you have to do leading up to that time
  • Stress of worrying whether you are going to like it abroad
  • Stress of being away from certain people
  • Stress of being away from creature comforts and potentially modern amenities
  • Stress of coming home

In short, you are going to spend the week leading up to your holiday packing and worrying about getting everything ‘straight’. Meanwhile you’ll be concerned about things going wrong and costing you a lot of money and then when you’re out there you might miss all the usual amenities – even if you are having a good time.

The fact of the matter is that we tend to like our creature comforts and our routines and when those are taken away from us we can end up feeling rather vulnerable and exposed. It’s for these reasons that you need to factor in the causes of holiday stress and find ways to minimize them so you can ensure your trip is more of a positive experience than a negative one.

How to Combat Holiday Stress

With all that in mind then, what can you do to try and combat holiday stress?

One of best things you can do is to think about the last time you went on holiday. What was it that caused you stress that time and what can you do to minimize that stress this time?

Here are some examples:

Luggage

A good example of this might be to minimize the amount of luggage you’re carrying. Travelling on the plane and even just getting to the airport can be much more stressful when you have to lug around lots of huge cases. And if you can pack all your things into hand luggage, then you’ll be able to reduce the time it takes to check-in and save yourself money. Pack light, even if it means you have to buy a towel when you get out there.

Check Everything

Check everything before you go by calling the hotel to check you have a reservation and by asking the airline if there’s anything else you need to do. This can take a couple of minutes but in the long term it can reassure you that there’s nothing you’ve forgotten which can greatly help to put your mind at rest. Likewise, ensure that you have all the receipts and printouts you need and that you’re keeping them somewhere where they’ll be easy to grab.

Think of Contingency Plans

One of the main causes of holiday stress is all of the thoughts that will be running through your mind as you worry about what will happen if the hotel doesn’t have your reservation, if you miss your flight and etc.

Whenever you are stressed about some aspect of your holiday then, it can pay to get some perspective and to think of how you would manage in that situation. If your hotel didn’t have your reservation, you could easily stay somewhere else and then get your money back later. If you missed your flight, you’d have to get the next available one and make up the lost money throughout the year. If you didn’t like your hotel, you could spend more time doing other things. If you lost your phone, you’d have to buy a new one.

Design Your Holiday Correctly

If you’re the sort of person who is very prone to getting holiday stress then you should keep this in mind when planning your trip and you should choose your destination, activities and amenities accordingly.

This might mean making sure you leave plenty of time between excursions so you aren’t rushing. It might mean staying in an all-inclusive hotel so you don’t need to worry about where you’re going to eat. It might even mean choosing to go on holiday within your country instead of travelling abroad. Sometimes people feel almost as though they ‘have to’ go on adventurous and elaborate holidays in order to have a fulfilling and worthwhile experience.

In fact though, a holiday should be about doing what you want to do and you shouldn’t feel pressured into anything else. If you think you would genuinely prefer to stay in a small hotel somewhere down the road – then that’s what you should do!

Take Some Time Out!

You know the great thing about being on holiday? You get to have some you time and to try and deal with any stress you might be facing.

If you get to your destination then and you find you are full of holiday stress, why not get yourself a nice massage or take a day out to just lie around on the beach and to listen to the waves. This can greatly help to combat any stress you might be experiencing and will remind you why you went to all this trouble to come away in the first place!

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About the author

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Keith Hillman

Keith Hillman is a full time writer specializing in psychology as well as the broader health niche. He has a BSc degree in psychology from Surrey University, where he particularly focused on neuroscience and biological psychology. Since then, he has written countless articles on a range of topics within psychology for numerous of magazines and websites. He continues to be an avid reader of the latest studies and books on the subject, as well as self-development literature.

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Avatar By Keith Hillman

Keith Hillman

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Keith Hillman is a full time writer specializing in psychology as well as the broader health niche. He has a BSc degree in psychology from Surrey University, where he particularly focused on neuroscience and biological psychology. Since then, he has written countless articles on a range of topics within psychology for numerous of magazines and websites. He continues to be an avid reader of the latest studies and books on the subject, as well as self-development literature.