How to keep that summer holiday feeling alive at home
stimulate your senses to keep that summer holiday feeling going when you're back at home.
the end of summer is a rather strange time. you can feel a sense of transition in the air; the weather becomes cooler, the mornings darker, and you start receiving emails about jeans and cardigans, rather than sundresses and hats.
this all seems to happen right when you’ve just gotten into the swing of summer; you’ve finally broken in your sandals, achieved a base-layer tan, and got a taste for those laid back summer holidays.
whether you took a staycation or trip abroad this year, you can keep a little of that summer holiday feeling alive when back home by stimulating each of your senses. here’s how;
music has the power to implicitly transport you back to a particular time or moment. it is really quite clever in the way it unlocks part of your brain, giving you access to particular emotions you were feeling when a song had been playing in the past.
try lying down, clearing your mind, and listening mindfully to tracks you heard during your holiday. the rhythm, beat and lyrics can trigger your brain to recall when you heard this information before, and to return you to that moment in time when you were lying by the pool.
taste and memory are very connected. a 2014 study (1) found a direct link between the part of the brain responsible for taste memory and the part of the brain responsible for encoding the time and place we experienced the taste.
so recreating a holiday meal, or sourcing produce from the area you holidayed, can take you right back to your vacation.
not to get all sciencey, but smells bypass the thalamus straight to the alfacory bulb. what this means is smells can immediately trigger a detailed memory or emotion without us having to dig it up.
an english friend lived in Italy as a child, and on holidays back to the UK he’d step off the plane onto the tarmac and be hit with the smell of airplane fuel. even today the unpleasant smell of this fuel still gives him that lovely sense of coming home.
so when returning from holiday try stimulate this sense with everyday smells you experienced, like sun cream, after sun lotion or my favourite - the sandalwood incense they burn in Ubud, Bali.
there are certain types of images that are more likely to elicit a strong and positive emotional response than others.
the most compelling images for humans are portraits of people smiling, this is because we are hardwired to look at faces, and it's our natural tendency to mimic the emotions of people we are looking at.
so a photo of you and friends/family smiling on holiday will have the best chance of eliciting fond memories. think about this when printing, posting or making images your home screen.
there are some feelings of a summer holiday you don’t want to bring back home, like the gritty feeling of sand in your bed or the sting of sunburn in the shower.
but touch can trigger very strong emotions due to the thousands of nerves in our skin. for me, the feeling of drying myself with a sun-dried towel transports me back to summers at the beach, as does sinking my toes into warm sand.
touch is a difficult one to replicate at home (without sprinkling sand in your bed), but we figure you could keep the the holiday feeling alive at home a bit longer by wearing summer holiday attire at home. make floaty dresses, light shirts and comfortable footwear mandatory for at least a week after your return.
and if the above just won’t cut it, you could do what we’re doing and start planning our next summer holiday already.