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Follow Madonna’s advice and take a holiday

Holiday!” The words of Madonna’s 1983 classic keep running through my head.

I write this from the Azores on a deck chair looking back across the Atlantic, a belly full of lapas and fresh cheese, surrounded by post-Euro victory buzz. A week of natural hot-springs, forest walks and whale-watching is ahead ... I agree, Madge, it is so nice!

Trips abroad can be rare treats and once our allotted “vacation time” is up, it can feel too long before the next. I’m not here to rub it in, rather offer some thoughts on how to get the benefits of a break without having to get on a plane.

Staycations are the rage but note, a proper holiday is more than just “not going to work”. It’s time to relax, recharge and refresh our perspective, all of which are vital to reducing stress and restoring mental and physical wellbeing.

It’s “a time to get away”, as the song says. It involves extracting ourselves from daily pressures, escaping the ordinary, sampling new and different things and treating ourselves to pleasurable experiences that we may not usually. And with a bit of planning we can do all these things for ourselves.

Here are some tips for experiencing your own mini-holiday. Whether for a weekend, a day, even a few hours, all can be highly restorative:

First, unplug from daily demands. Give fair warning then disconnect from the tugs of phone calls, messages, e-mails etc. The world can survive without you for a few hours. Resist the habit to check in. You will be back in the fray all too soon. If you feel compelled to “work” in your current environment, pick some place else to go. Reallocate chores, call in assistance and delegate the expectations of you during your “holiday” time.

Change up the routine. Doing something different refreshes the mind. Drive a different route, go some place new or forgotten. I headed to Tobacco Bay recently. (I still consider St George’s and Somerset trips special days out.) Sure enough, it was an exciting change. I had so much fun. It was fresh and new — a “holiday”. Try something! Even if you don’t love it, experiencing something unusual feels like an adventure and reminds us we’re alive. Indulge your senses. Check out vistas you’ve not taken time for, cook with aromatic fresh herbs, spend some time outside in nature, walk with no shoes, rub your own feet. A massage can be wonderfully restoring but not always in the budget. Make time to reconnect with your physical body.

Move and rest. Treat your body to a different way of moving from the usual; any movement if you are normally stuck behind a desk.

Gentle stretching, swimming or just walking through water can feel great.

Then make the effort to make yourself comfortable. Fresh sheets, a slice of lemon in your water, a deck chair ... details we can treat ourselves to make us feel pampered and indulged.

While I fully recommend the Azores for your next trip, why not take the time to create your own holiday right where you are.Bon Voyage!

Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com.