Staying home? Here are 7 ways to de-stress without going away

With tens of thousands of people now planning to holiday in Ireland this year, it’s the destination of choice for Irish holidaymakers. If the thought of packing the car and heading to a mobile home/self-catering or hotel feels like the next best thing to a sun-soaked trump abroad, then you may underestimate the power of a staycation.Staycations have a lot of pluses - they save money, there’s less planning required and you can pack for all weather types. 

Staying home may not sound as exciting as a destination trip, but you can still relax and recharge your mind by merely breaking from your work and taking a timeout at home. It’s essential, however, to make the most of that time away. Science suggests that the psychological benefits of a holiday only last about two months after it ends, so if you aim to maximize your time away, staycations are the way to go. It's also probably wise to stay away from social media and comparing your break away to others. You will inevitably feel guilty because you’re not living up to some impossible standard of the online world. The only bad holiday is the one you don’t take so take it and make the very most of it.

Holidays are meant to reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety, so it’s essential to make sure you try to have a relaxing and stress-free staycation -

Dr Sinead Beirne, GP and member of Virgin Media’s Doctor in the house, gives her top tips on managing stress.

  1. Exercise - use this time away to get active and enjoy your holiday workouts. “The free drug without any side effects! We have been advised that it is ok to go walking, while practising social distancing and good hand hygiene. Exercise is great and the treatment of choice for mild to moderate anxiety. I always recommend it to my patients. My personal favourite is walking. You can do it into your 90’s.”

  2. Sleep - Time away is great to catch up on your sleep debt! “Continue to be mindful of sleep hygiene for you and your family members. Put away your phone and turn off the computer. It’s important to have a wind-down period before you go to sleep. Spend time offline with children before bedroom answering any questions or concerns they may have in an age-appropriate way. Also, Avoid caffeine and alcohol after 6 pm”.

  3. Reduce Alcohol - Drink water between alcoholic drinks, practice moderation and keep the focus on family and friends and remember the reason for the gatherings.

  1. Practice mindfulness - Whether you’re using an app on your phone or just taking 10 minutes by yourself. “There’s no better way to quiet your mind. Pay attention to the present moment, without judgement. You’ve got to practice it to perfect the art.”

  2. Food - Reduce junk food - The odd treat is fine and you should suspend some rules just for the holidays, but do also try to continue to make good food choices. While junk food may feel like a treat, unfortunately, our guts don't like sugary fatty processed foods. Try to avoid suggestions of junk foods like soft drinks, biscuits, chips and pizza. Instead, try to plan ahead and keep healthy snacks at hand for him throughout the day. “Fueling your body with good nutritious food helps you to cope. Take time to eat, chew and enjoy your food.”

  1. Have a mantra - When things appear overwhelming, have your own mantra to soothe yourself like ‘I can, I can and I will’

  2. Try a probiotic - “Zenflore contains the 1714-Serenitas culture which has been shown to reduce stress-related behaviours and improve stress responses and cognitive function.”