For some of us that back to work feeling following a holiday can sometimes be a sinking one. It could be the prospect of an insurmountable inbox, an unending pile of ironing or perhaps the challenging work-childcare roster that means you are soon sucked into the everyday treadmill.

Why is it that the positive feelings people experience while on holiday, otherwise known as a “holiday feeling” soon diminishes?

On holiday the activities we choose to do often have a positive impact on our wellbeing.

Here are three although the list is unending:

Reflection time:

Finding as little as 5 minutes reflection time whilst on holiday is hardly a challenge. A “pause” not only helps us to slow down but allows us to look at some of our mistakes and create purpose for learning from them. It offers space for creative thinking and perspective. Stepping back and placing challenges into the grand scheme of things is helpful too. Not just creating new milestones, but realising some of our successes and things we have done right makes us happier.

Success recognition is associated to the release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine which drives the brains reward system. This is why a little praise at work goes a long way.

Other dopamine inducing activities include: Discovering new things; listening to music and exercising.

Keeping good company:

For most of us we choose to holiday with people who we enjoy spending time with; the ones who make us feel good and induce those deep belly laughing moments. Research shows how happy social time is proven to lower stress levels and improve mental wellbeing.

Science has proven that positive social exchanges charge the neurotransmitter circuit in our brain which minimises stress and anxiety and promotes calm. The brain secretes oxytocin in response to physical touch, conversation with others – especially when they show trust in you.

Other oxytocin inducing activities include: A hug, reaching out to someone, touching a pet, cheering a team and having a massage.

The great outdoors:

Exercise may be too strong a word for some of us on holiday. Whether it’s the craggy coves of Cornwall or the sandy crevices of the Med, spending time outdoors, elevating our heart rate and gulping in fresh air is easily achievable.

The exposure to natural light promotes this neurotransmitter, serotonin, sometimes known as the “Happy hormone”. This is mostly found in the digestive system and is a natural mood stabilizer regulating anxiety. Chronic stress is one of the main causes for serotonin depletion.

Other serotonin inducing activities include: Exercise, healthy diet, meditating, massage and remembering happy events (reflection time)

Even when we’re back to the grindstone we are all offered choices in managing how we feel. The points above may be stating the obvious, however developing an awareness around this can be invaluable. Yes, the stress hormones are going to creep in and to a degree are helpful. Finding time to induce feel good hormones is hardly a challenge considering it can take as little as a couple of minutes.

Research continues to support the idea that our resilience levels include a number of factors that are directly within our control.

Emotional Resilience training makes up part of our overall Wellbeing offering. If you’re curious about this and you’d like to find out more then we’d welcome a chat.

Stay Well,

Leigh McKay