Summer is when the earth’s 23.5° tilt is closest to the sun. The days become longer and hotter and many of us choose to take a break and go on holiday to take time off, travel, relax and re-charge. Until relatively recently, travelling abroad was a luxury that only the wealthy could afford. Now many of us travel abroad, or to other parts of the country, to take a break. The word “holiday” originated from holy days that were taken as part of religious practice. The US term “vacation” was first used in UK law courts to refer to the long summer break and can be traced back to William the Conqueror.
With more virtual ways of working and access to mobile devices, it’s becoming normal for people to not completely disconnect from work when on holiday; responding to emails and keeping on top of things while away. So rather than properly relaxing and unwinding, there’s no escape from the busyness and stress. Luckily, many organisations are now recognising that people are not machines and perform much better when given proper breaks and extended time away from the workplace. Research shows that even six days away from the workplace can reduce stress and boost the immune system. The same research found that longer breaks that include meditation increase the health benefits.
When we reflect on some of the best holiday moments, some may be about the pleasure and fun we had; sharing the experience with loved ones; the surprising flavours of different cuisines; feeling alive while we watch the sun slowly set over the sea. It’s interesting that most of these memories involve the senses or are about the quality of the experience; being more open, aware and appreciative of present-moment experience, which is what practising mindfulness is all about.
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