Everyone loves a good holiday. Even the word ‘holiday’ is powerful enough to evoke images of seaside relaxation, colourful drinks and light, summery reads. A good holiday is something we all look forward to, but this doesn’t mean that they are simply a decadent luxury. In reality, respites from everyday life can hold enormous benefits for the health and wellbeing of our families.
In 2015, results from a British poll showed that the social and psychological benefits of family holidays are significant, and they last far longer than you might at first believe. The director of the Family Association, John McDonald, went as far as saying "This research is the cast iron evidence we have long known to be true and demonstrates the incredible, positive impacts on the family and wider society that a break away from the daily grind can bring."
Prepare to pack your suitcases and get ready for an adventure, as with the longstanding effects of the following family holiday benefits, we have all the excuses in the world to escape for a well-deserved break.
Taking time out and spending some quality time with one another can do wonders to build and solidify family bonds and promote a sense of community. This is what psychologists refer to as a ‘crescive bond’, which emerges from shared experiences that occur when you take the time to develop meaningful connections. It is far easier to nurture these connections when we aren’t distracted by the pressures of work, school and other responsibilities. Take the time to interact on holiday – play board games, play football or go rock climbing. Cooperative activities will enhance the feeling of being part of a tight-knit team.
Happy, long-lasting memories
This may not come as a surprise, but family holidays comprise most of our happiest memories, according to research from the Family Holiday Association. An impressive 49% of Britons claimed that their most happy memory was from a family holiday. 55% of adults agreed that their family holidays gave them happy memories that would stick with them forever. 24% even said that they reflected on these memories to get them through difficult times. This is particularly relevant to busy mums and dads, who want to establish these euphoric memories before time flies and their children have left the home.
John McDonald refers to these memories as a ‘happiness anchor’, which can bring us relief in a time of high stress or sadness. Sadly, he adds that people without such anchors have a much more difficult time getting through these darker times. But what activities make for the best memories?
One source claims that children cherish memories of high activity and excitement, such as roller-coaster rides, and moments of increased sensory stimulation, such as the touch and feel of a dolphin at a sea life sanctuary. Moments of fascination also stood out in their memories. Interestingly, by contrast, parents tended to remember moments of relaxation, the happiness of watching their children enjoying themselves and the freedom to rediscover their ‘inner child’.
Get reacquainted with one another
Holidays give us the opportunity to get to know our family members again. Human beings are constantly learning, growing and changing, so if we don’t take the time and effort to get reacquainted, it can cause family divisions that are hard to overcome. During our relaxed time off, we can see each other in a new light and children get to see their parent in a happy, stress-free atmosphere. This deeper insight can generate a huge sense of appreciation and an increased affection, which is invaluable to any family.
Security, safety and comfort
Intimate family holidays can provide a huge sense of warmth and comfort to families. This is particularly the case for children. This is something they can carry with them long after the holiday is over, content in the safety and familiarity that they associate with their family. Allowing children the freedom to play by themselves is, of course, important, but so are joint activities that promote a sense of unity.
Improved ambition and productivity
Parents everywhere will be happy to see this addition; taking your children on holiday can actually help to improve their performance at school! It has been shown that the long-lasting effects of a satisfying, memorable holiday include better behaviour at school, increased optimism and improved ambition. They tend to require less discipline and experience reduced levels of stress and anxiety. Adults will be happy to know that this increased productivity applies to them too – employers benefit from refreshed, enthusiastic and efficient workers after employees return from their holidays.
Feed an appetite for adventure
We mould our children into the adults they are going to be. Children who experience the same routine constantly, without deviation, carry this behaviour into adulthood, resulting in grownups who refuse to take chances. Holidays can shake this up and teach children that even adults go on adventures. This goes a long way to promoting a healthy work/life balance in our children. They will appreciate that, although work is important, you need to take time out to develop other aspects of your personality.
Holiday in comfort and save money
You might be open and very much willing to go on holiday with your loved ones, but you might also be one of the nearly 1.5 million families in the UK who simply can’t afford one. You’ll be happy to know that you don’t need to leave the country to see the many benefits of a good holiday. For this reason, staycations are booming in popularity. Britons are realising that there are amazing things to be done in our own country, and a great alternative to a stuffy hotel room is a self-catered cottage holiday, which is a true home away from home. You have all the freedom in the world, you can take your pet with you, you can choose your own meals and you can create your own agenda.
No matter your personal situation, there is the perfect option out there for you and your family to create memories to last a lifetime.
Diane Pearce is an entrepreneur who has been buying and letting holiday cottages for 15 years. She is passionate about providing last-minute getaways to those seeking a retreat. She now owns BimbleBox, a popular holiday cottage rental website that exists to provide beautiful and affordable escapes to remember.
Mummy B xoxox
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