Jul 16 2012 / Travel Tips & Advice

Can’t switch off? Tips on making the most of your summer

You thought a mad rush to the airport was the last of your worries for some time. But now you’ve reached your destination and you still can’t quite unwind? A study by Dr Daniela Calvetti, has shown that ‘just as thinking burns energy – so does blocking a thought.’ The researchers likened trying to empty your mind to ‘stopping a truck on a downhill slope,’ meaning that taking time out of a busy schedule to relax can be a real struggle for some.

Finding ways to relax

Put a little work into planning before you leave and you’ll be able to devote your whole holiday to unwinding. Make a mental list of the things that make holidays relaxing for you. Do you want an all-inclusive package so you don’t have to lift a finger? Or perhaps you should consider engaging your mind with sightseeing and other activities to help you escape from the daily hum drum.

Away from it all

Tired of seeing your friends post pictures of their sunny holidays while you hack away at work, praying it will stay dry over the weekend? One more trip squeezed like a sardine against the tube door, and you might just have a conniption.

Call me genius, but I have a feeling it’s time for you to plan that next holiday. Sounds like you might need to escape the madness and go far far away. Try going somewhere completely exotic like Laos, where time ceases to exist. Take the slow boat down the Mekong River to the colonial town of Luang Prabang and forget about everything.

Alternatively, if you’re a fan of the outdoors, why not look into a flight to the French Alps, where you can truly isolate yourself in nature. Consider renting a chalet in a resort like l’Alpe d’Huez, roughly an hour and a half from Grenoble. From there, you will have access to a multitude of hiking trails, where you’ll be able to sun yourself in solitude to your heart’s content while enjoying a picnic in front of spectacular views. Before you know it, you will feel at the tip of the world.

Engaging your mind

Are you still not able to disconnect? Is that lingering issue at work you left behind continuing to haunt you? One easy trick to distract your troubled mind is to fill it with other people’s drama-filled lives: bring along a page-turner. A good novel you can’t put down will get you off worrying about work and onto worrying about the lives of fictional characters. But, hey, at least you won’t be stressing about your own problems for a bit.

Why not take a break from basking in the sun to try that sport you’ve been meaning to all these years. Always fancied having a go at surfing? Hop onto that flight to Faro and check out the waves on the coast from Mazara del Vallo to Selinunte. Before you know it, you’ll be catching every wave and feeling rejuvenated. Your daily routine you so desperately needed a break from will be a distant memory.

If this still doesn’t seem appealing, perhaps what you really need is to fill your mind with some cultural sightseeing. Nothing will get you out of the daily drill better than a long weekend in Venice. Don’t let the admittedly crowded Piazza San Marco deter you from spending a few days immersing yourself in Venice’s magical and unique atmosphere. There truly is no other city like it.

The list of things to see is endless, from the beautiful palazzos, the stunning Basilica di San Marco, to checking out the works by Venice’s grand masters Titian (c1488-1576), Tintoretto (c1518-94), Canaletto (1697-1768) and Tiepolo (1727-1804). Make sure to soak up the Venetian ambiance by escaping the touristy hot spots. Hop onto the vaporetto for a ride around the floating city to the surrounding islands of Lido, Burano, and Murano, famous for its glass making. Alternately, simply venture out to smaller canals, kick back and relax in a local trattoria armed with a fresh glass of Prosecco.

Hopefully, by now, you’ve realised that there are plenty of options out there for those of us who desperately need a break from the unreliable British summer. So, what are you waiting for?

If you have other tips on how to relax on a holiday, share them with us in the comments below!

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