Happy Holiday Covid Style

Wow!, it is the summer. We generally are hoping that it is hot, but not too hot and we can fly away and enjoy it. Emmm, well maybe. I guess some will chance it in the hope that the country they are visiting stays on the Green List. 

Normally in the colder climates of Northern Europe people would now be heading south to the sun. Topping up their vitamin D and replenishing their energy before the darkness and the cold of the winter to come. In the other direction in the hotter humid climates of the Middle East people would be heading north to cool down a bit. Turning their back on the sun and the humidity. 

I only realised when I was working in Qatar that people from the Middle East suffer similar vitamin D deficiency to those people in Europe. In europe their is either not enough sun or people are smothering themselves in suntan lotion to avoid getting burned or developing skin cancer. In the Middle East in can be so hot and humid that people stay indoors in the pleasurable cool of the air conditioning and avoid going out in the open and the vicious sun. The result is that the vitamin D loss is the same.

The adaptability of human beings is truly amazing. We have been able to make a life in the frozen wastes of the north and the sun scorched deserts of the equator. Yet, wherever we live we crave the difference of being somewhere else, to get away to take a holiday. To change the normal status quo for something totally different.

Holiday makers come in two main types. There are those that need to simply get away from something, taking a break or chilling. Then there are those who need to be doing something and take the activity holiday. Whether your holiday is a ‘stop and chill’ or a ‘start and do’ event what is it that makes a holiday happy for you? Covid favours the chilling on the beach holiday, as long as there are not too many people. The action holiday involve greater close contact.

Covid can add an extra layer of stress to this years holiday. I have known so many people who are having a tough time, living a tough life. They spend their entire year saving for the break or they just get their holiday on their plastic. Then they have to struggle through the airport with the kids screaming onto a three or four hour flight to the sun and the all inclusive break. The next ten days is spent by the pool semi piddled on the all inclusive booze, telling the kids off for disturbing them and arguing with their partners. What happens if you then have to self isolate for ten days once you get back? The pressure on the family and relationships can become intense.

Well, maybe that sounds a little extreme but, do you realise that, the divorce season begins in September just after the holidays. For many, the pressure of being together for that long proves to be too much and the split follows. The same thing happens just after Christmas in the New Year. But, I digress.

What is your ideal holiday?

If you could go anywhere this year, forgetting Covid, where would you go? For me it is the Italian art of doing nothing and, the place that I prefer to do nothing is, of course, in Italy, “La Dolce Far Niente”. My life is intense and sometimes extreme when I travel for work the reality of being on the plane for a few hours is a welcome oasis of stillness in the everyday madness of life it is my dolce far niente. When I go on holiday that sense of nobody needs anything and nobody wants anything is magical. If I am honest I do not need to leave my house to do that. A chill day in the house can, for me, be a holiday. But such stopping is not easy for everyone.

There are many people who do not know where their off button is so that everyday becomes a list of things to be achieved. Even the act of exercising becomes another task on the list to be ticked off. The art of being able to simple sit and be, “La Dolce Far Niente”, perhaps with a meal, as a couple, as a family, as a group of friends and to genuinely do nothing and genuinely feel that you allowed to do nothing is becoming a lost art. I see so many people in various organisation who have forgotten how to stop. Perhaps we should change the concept of ‘work hard play hard’ to…

Work hard, but know when to stop

This has been tough for people stuck in their house during lockdown unable to stop and continually need to be doing. If people are forced into staycations this year will they really get the break that they so desperately need? 

Is your ideal holiday active or relaxing? Or a mixture of the two? We say that one person’s meat is another person’s poison. We could say that one person’s holiday is another person’s nightmare.

The one thing we do know is that this year when we do take a break that is good for us and feeds our individual needs it will have a positive effect on our system right down to the cellular level, reducing stress hormones, blood pressure, anxiety and so on. It is important that you take a break that will work well for you. But the most important is that you do take a break, that you give yourself the value of being important enough to look after. Whatever happens with Covid, if you manage to get away or have a staycation make sure you enjoy it.

Wherever you go and whatever you do this year be happy 

Take care

Sean x


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