Help! My holiday is over
Most of us are a better version of ourselves on holiday. We dress better, eat better, cook better, sleep better, do more exercise and pay better attention to our loved ones. There’s always time to make the bed, recycle the garbage, invite friends around for dinner and have long phone conversations.
Lucky people spend their holidays in ideal environments; swanning around in kaftans by the beach or rugging up and hitting the ski fields, inhaling fresh country air or taking in the sites of somewhere exotic. No wonder holidays feel like the version of life that we wish we had, surrounded by the things and people and activities we love best.
Pity we can’t feel like that every day. It always feels so much harder to nip the healthier and happier lifestyle in the bud when our bags are unpacked and we’re back into the swing of normal life.
But apparently it doesn’t have to be that way. According to this fascinating article from American National Public Radio it’s actually scientifically proven to be easier to change our bad behaviours when we’re on holidays.
Neuroscientists have traced our habit-making behaviours to a part of the brain called the basal ganglia: “Studies on this area of the brain show that people perform automated behaviours - like pulling out of a driveway or brushing teeth — the same way every single time, if they’re in the same environment. But if they take a vacation, it’s likely that the behaviour will change.”
You could also try being nicer to yourself once you’re back in everyday life said Louise Adams, a clinical psychologist. She told The Punch all you need to do is cultivate a little bit of “self-compassion”.
“People are too hard on themselves because they focus on the things they aren’t doing instead of the good things that they are,” she said.
Adams suggests cutting your goals in half when you return from holidays because it makes them easier to achieve and reward. For example, if you aim to walk everyday, cut that back to three times a week. Or keep in better contact with family members by committing to a catch up every fortnight instead of once a week.
“Whatever the goal, the most important thing is to congratulate yourself. Be your own personal cheer squad and acknowledge what you are doing right,” she said.
The only other option of course is to go on a permanent holiday.
I’m on Twitter: @lucyjk
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