Here in the UK, we’re phasing out of lockdown. Travel begins to open up domestically and abroad. Whether or not we’re ready to move is, of course, dependent on our circumstances and sense of risk. But wherever we are, I think we all need a break (right?). As for me, I’ve been pushing hard since March to keep productive and positive. But last week, I really needed to hit pause.
Having a holiday at home is impossible – let’s face it. In my first day off, I sanded and painted two chairs. In my second, I cleaned. Thoroughly. I then spent the rest of the week zombied in front of Netflix, getting twitchy rather than refreshed. So this got me thinking. What practical, non-costly ways we can bring the feel of a hotel to our own home? How we can we bring the way we behave on holiday into our regular lives? Even when we can travel freely, keeping this holiday ease amongst the pressures of the everyday is hard. But the results can only be beneficial.
So, here are 4 ways I’ve been applying my favourite hotel hacks to my own daily life. I’d love to hear your thoughts too!
1. Pick one hotel treat to implement into your everyday
Now, I don’t mean that we should all eat gelato every day (though a spoonful a day is mood medicinal, surely?!). This is about the things that are easy to do at home, and all you need is to actually make the time.
Have you ever been on holiday and said ‘we should keep this up at home?’ or ‘we should do this more often?’. What were those things?
For example, my partner and I have a cup of freshly brewed loose leaf tea in bed every morning, in pretty ceramic mugs. Why? Because our favourite B&B in the Yorkshire Dales will wake you up at your chosen time in the morning with a knock on the door and fresh tea (their own breakfast blend) on a tray. We realised there was no reason not to do this in our own home. Sure, we have to wake up slightly earlier and make the tea ourselves (Jeeves never comes, no matter how often I call him!). But the reward is a feeling of decadence as you settle back into bed with the tea. I use this time to write two or three pages of thoughts in a notebook and the rest of my day runs more smoothly as a result. I should point out though, we don’t yet have children… But this is the easy treat that works for us now.
Other examples include having a pre-dinner drink (of any variety), in the garden or just on the sofa. Or going out for an exploratory walk and bringing a thermos and sandwiches. This treat doesn’t have to happen every day, it’s not always practical. But ask yourself: what benefits would your favourite holiday treat give to your everyday wellbeing? Can you give it a go?
It’s often highlighted that women, in particular, feel that they need to earn a treat. ‘I can’t read a chapter of that new novel’, for example, ‘until I’ve done the washing up and hung up the ironing’. Conversely, I’ve noticed (and teased) the men in my life that they will make a task wait until they’ve finished the chapter or article they’re reading. Rewards don’t always have to be earned – if it makes you happier, and able to contribute better to your other tasks, why not make it a priority?!
2. Mix it up with mini toiletries and shop local beauty products
Ever since I was tiny, the most exciting part of a new hotel room is unwrapping the soap. I love exploring the new products offered, whilst knowing I’ve got the usual reliables in my toiletry back to fall back on. During lockdown, I’ve been working through a mini set of Molton Brown soaps – the variety of scents and products has definitely given me a hotel vibe! As I’ve written about before, I’ve also been using this as an opportunity to explore local small businesses that produce natural soaps. Some of my favourite hotels showcase the beauty products made in their local area, so this has been a great way to bring that luxury feel into the bathroom (without costly marble and fancy towels!).
So I’d definitely recommend looking up businesses to support near you and treating yourself to something a bit more interesting than your standard soap choice!
3. Make ease the default mode
On holiday, I relish the sense of ease. Pressure has been taken off, and the standard worries are at a remove. Then we land back to normality, and the holiday glow goes away. How can we tap into it at home?
I’ve been keeping up my yoga practice, introducing 5 mins of lying down and breathing time after exercise, and taking a 20 minute power nap after lunch (key lesson I’ve learnt: if you’re feeling too busy and harassed to justify a nap – those are the days you really need to nap). I’ve also been trying to retrain my thoughts: what would happen if I did this in a relaxed way? What would happen if I let myself off the hook for this? Do I need to care so much about this? Often these questions make me realise that my default habit is to pile on and stoke the stress, rather than lift it away. When I act with ease and lightness, I do my work – and all parts of my life – as a more effective and happy person. This brain retraining is an ongoing process!
4. Add a touch of novelty
Food is more special on holiday – it’s the novelty of new dishes, local ingredients, and the time to linger over meals. How can we create a sense of luxury and treat at home, without spending loads more on groceries than usual? I’ve found that even a tiny bit of mixing things up makes a difference. For example, we got some grapefruit for a change. Layered with yogurt and granola, it makes me think of sunny hotel breakfasts. Changing up fruits and veg are a low cost and healthy way to add novelty.
This lockdown period has been a food holiday for us. My partner is severely allergic to egg, so eating out is always laden with stress and risk. Especially when abroad. The past few months have been a good opportunity for him to explore and enjoy food in a safe and controlled environment. We’ve been baking bread, egg-free cakes and sweet treats, and exploring new main meals. The home restaurant has been a way to travel far into new territory! As someone without food allergies, it’s made me more aware that variety is a luxury and even small changes can bring excitement back into cooking. Also, if we put a bit more effort into making the meal, we’ll savour and discuss at the table for longer afterwards!
I’ve learnt that with 10% more effort, you can be your own holiday restaurant. Make those dishes that remind you of favourite trips, or to test places still to travel. Switch up your usual breakfasts. Embrace seasonal fruit and veg. Raid the spice cupboard. I know it sounds obvious but bear with me! If you can eat whatever you want – make the most of it and explore!
So there you have it! A few thoughts on bringing the hotel resort – from the bathroom products, to the fine dining restaurant – into the everyday. As ever, I’d love to know what you’re doing to bring some treats into these strange times!