Why you need to take a holiday during AND post lockdown

any people are under the impression that you need to book a long holiday away in order to truly feel the benefits thereof. But research has shown that mini-breaks throughout the year, rather than one longer, annual break, are far more beneficial than you might think! A recent study in the Journal of Happiness Studies proved that after just two days on holiday, individuals felt refreshed – physically, emotionally and mentally.

“It’s no secret that most of us are needing a break more now than ever,” says Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels & Resorts, a leading leisure company that manages over 25 holiday properties across South Africa. He adds that a recent study by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group revealed that 65% of respondents felt stressed or very stressed during lockdown.

“There is no doubt that a hike in the Berg or a swim in the sea would go a long way in cheering us up, but because lockdown still prohibits leisure travel, we have make lemonade from lemons!” How? Shaun believes that the next best thing is taking a few days off work. “Whether you choose to take leave for a week, or just a weekend, you’ll reap the same health benefits either way.”

He adds that so many people forgo their leave days simply because they’re too busy at work or worse, because they feel guilty and feel like they are ‘shirking their responsibilities’. Some are just fearful that they may lose their job. “This, as the research has shown, is in fact counterintuitive,” he says.

He gives 3 more reasons why you should take leave and invest in a mini-break:

1. Improve your mood and be more productive: The biggest boost in happiness associated with a mini break comes during the anticipation of the time to relax and unwind, which was shown to increase happiness for eight weeks prior, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Research in Quality of Life. It also found that happiness makes you 12% more productive, so the excitement of an upcoming break may result in you churning out more work beforehand.

2. Less work to come back to: If you take a quick day or two off, you are unlikely to come back to the tsunami of work that would’ve be waiting for you after a long break. An added plus – you will remember your password too!

3. Spread out your leave: Most people are able to take only 15 days leave per year. So, it makes sense to take lots of mini two-day breaks rather than one long break. Plus, you will trick yourself into thinking you have enjoyed a lot more leave than you actually have.

Key to really relaxing and unwinding is to switch off. Shaun says, “Take a hard line against social media and reading or watching the news. Instead spend your mornings soaking up the Winter sun and playing games in the garden, spend your afternoons napping and your evenings with a beer or glass of wine in hand. He adds that it doesn’t end there. “Use your time off to plan your post-lockdown mini-break – resorts across the country are offering amazing specials in an effort to get bums in beds once the restrictions are lowered. Take advantage of those offers now, so that your anticipated holiday happiness ‘boost’ lasts a little longer!”

“At the end of the day, taking a well-deserved and much-needed break will not only leave you feeling happier, but will also give you an opportunity to make magical memories,” Shaun concludes.

To explore the variety of specials on offer or to book a mini break for when lockdown is over go