TV therapist Anna Williamson has revealed the MUST DO activity for everyone in January… booking a holiday.
The psychotherapist from Hertfordshire said that researching and booking a holiday now is one of the best ways to boost our mood and beat the winter blues.
The advice comes ahead of so-called “Sunshine Saturday”, which is one of the most popular days of the year for booking a sunshine break.
Anna says that the heightened joy and excitement from December’s festivities can often lead to a hormone crash in January.
She said to counteract this, our brains needed another dose of oxytocin and dopamine, the happy chemicals in our body, and booking a getaway can do just that.
The 42-year-old mum said that research from holiday company TUI showed that planning holidays, or ‘braincations,’ triggered the release of neurotransmitters, boosting mood, reducing stress, and enhancing cognitive function.
Anna said it was important to take a break every two months to prevent feelings of anxiety, stress, and fatigue and she revealed that studies even suggested that frequent, shorter breaks may be more effective than a single annual trip, preventing the pressure of enforced fun.
Anna has also shared some intriguing findings from the study on the optimal duration of a holiday. She said that people feel the most well-rested three days into a break. But there was evidence that eight days is the perfect length for those looking for a longer trip.
Anna appealed to holiday seekers to be cautious about planning just one big getaway. She said: “Often the pressure of one annual holiday can be counter-productive due to the stress in trying to have enforced fun, which can often overwhelm the whole point of going away.”
TUI’s study has shown that most people start looking for a holiday on New Year’s Day and an incredible 37% will actually book this weekend.
Anna said that booking a holiday was so powerful for mental health that the chemicals released in our brains replicate feelings humans get during activities such as eating a nice meal, shopping, or having sex.
Key holiday hunting facts:
- It takes 53 hours for people to find their dream break
- 44% book in January so they have something to look forward to
- 23% of people say that they book now to help them get through the most miserable time of the year
- Holidays not only improve mood, but they promote good sleeping patterns for up to two weeks of returning home
- Brits get into a ‘peak’ holiday feeling 43 hours into a trip
- After booking a break 65% said they were ‘excited’, 35% said they felt ‘satisfied’ and 34% felt more cheerful
- 29% choose a European beach break
- 30% go for one week. 12% go for 10 days and 15% book for two weeks.
Phillip Iveson, TUI UK & I’s commercial director, said: “For years we have seen huge demand post-Christmas to search for and book a holiday, and we expect this January to be no different.
“We know that people are keen to look for their future travel plans at this time, appetite for travel has never been greater and we are offering some incredible deals this new year across all of our products including; up to £300 savings on selected holidays, thousands of free kids’ places, £0 deposit to secure your holiday as well as extra savings in the TUI app.”