Anyone who’s become seriously stressed at work will recognise the instinct to put in more hours. Rather than take time out, you cut back on holidays and personal time, and convince yourself that going into overdrive will somehow help you. Of course, it never does – because the stress cycle only breaks once you allow yourself a little time and perspective. Unsurprisingly, research shows that holidays are a powerful source of rest and recuperation. They promote subjective wellbeing, improve relationships and broaden horizons. Holidays are therapy; and adventures all the more so. They capture the happiness of experience, and present challenges that fire us up in a life-affirming way. So, whether you’re feeling bored, frustrated or bogged down in tasks, check out these 8 adventures to lighten the load:
If you’re feeling overloaded
The remedy: Norway
“If work has taken over and become the most important thing in your life, it could be time to reverse this completely and make time for you for a while,” says hypnotherapist and anxiety expert Chloe Brotheridge. Where better to do this, and re-charge your batteries, than with a wilderness weekend in Norway? Our adventure here takes in everything from hiking dramatic glaciers to kayaking across fjords and popping by a goat’s cheese farm for a hearty tasting session. When you’re surrounded by the glorious countryside, life suddenly becomes much simpler. You can reap the happiness benefits of being in nature, grab a digital detox and have space to let your mind wander once again. At the same time, a series of exhilarating experiences mean that you won’t overthink, or stew over work issues: you’ll be snapped right back to the present. Win.
If you’re lacking in creativity
The remedy: Bali
Running dry on ideas is no fun whatsoever – and the harder you try, the more elusive those brainwaves become. Escape the pressure entirely, with a break to brilliant Bali. At once upbeat and soothing, Bali brims with creative energy. The diversity of the country alone provides bags of stimulation, whether you’re in eclectic bars and boutiques of Seminyak, or wandering around the super-chilled Gili Air island. Of particular note is Ubud, Bali’s cultural heartland tucked away high in the forest hills. Here, you’ll find a vibrant community of artists and artisans who draw from the lush valley scenery all around. Learn how to cook the Balinese way, get trekking in the jungle or visit a nearby temple, to let your mind unwind, and get those creative juices flowing.
If you’ve got desk fatigue
The remedy: South Africa
There’s nothing worse than falling hostage to your desk, right? You mean to get out and about but somehow you end up sitting there for 7 hours a day or more, in a toxic habit that can end up killing you (yes, really). So, if you’re suffering from cabin fever, get booking on our South Africa getaway. From abseiling down Table Mountain to going on safari and paddle-boarding the Cape Peninsula, this intoxicating adventure is just the tonic when it comes to waking you up. Get set to be propelled off your chair, and right out of your comfort zone. And fear not: you do get to rest a *little* bit, thanks to the Garden Route’s incredible vineyards that stretch all around Cape Town. Toast your courage with a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc and leave your desk a distant memory….
If you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’
The remedy: Costa Rica
We’ve all felt a lingering sense of apathy at work at one point or another, and it can be a real problem. A low-level sense of boredom has a tendency to build on itself; the more trapped you feel, the less able you are to act – and so your frustration becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If this sounds familiar, look to our Costa Rica trip for solace. One of the happiest nations on earth has a very simple philosophy on life: it’s all about Pura Vida, or “pure life”. It means appreciating the little things, such as hanging out with people you like, or wallowing in a hammock on a sunny afternoon. Surrounded by the dense tropical beauty and vibrant wildlife of this Central American haven, it’s easy to conjure up your own sense of exuberance over simple pleasures. Like a growing number of people before you, you’ll start to realise that meaningful work is more important than anything else; an understanding that could spark big changes in your professional life.
If you need a confidence boost
The remedy: Peru
Whether you’re being micromanaged by an over-zealous boss, or have missed out on a promotion, there are a million and one reasons why your confidence can take a knock in the workplace. It’s all too easy to feel like you’re not valued. Remind yourself of the many skills in your arsenal by coming on-board for our Peru expedition. This dazzling journey is overflowing with hefty challenges, from mountain biking in the highlands of the Sacred Valley, to cruising through the Amazonian jungle by night. By far the biggest obstacle is a 6km high-altitude trek up Rainbow Mountain, including an overnight camp near the summit. Taking on this climb is no mean feat – you’ll really have to work at it – but reaching the top, with its multitude of colours, is a powerful feeling. Re-tap your hidden reserves of willpower and stamina, and remind yourself of why you’re great all over again.
If you don’t get on with your boss
The remedy: Sicily
There are few more unpleasant office scenarios than falling out with your team, or your line manager. Because they’re people you work with every day, the politics takes on a force of its own. You can quickly feel isolated, and start questioning your own judgement about everything. If that’s you – now is the time to make a break for somewhere warm and comforting. We suggest Sicily, with its cascade of picturesque buildings, golden beaches and utterly moreish food. (The caponata! The cannoli! The canestrato!). Lose yourself in the adventure equivalent of a bubble bath and leave all the office bitching far behind with our Sicilian escape. River trekking through the wild expanse of the Alcantara Gorges, or learning how to cook in the backstreets of Palermo, the toxic environment of your workplace will suddenly seem small and insignificant. And the pleasure that comes from the whole experience will hopefully give you the courage to escape your situation back home (or at least confront it in a constructive way).
If you’re considering a change
The remedy: Jordan
Making a big decision about your career can be agony. Do you stay? Do you go? How can you tell whether the gamble will be worth it? Turning over such important questions when you’re immersed in everyday life is a tough call. No wonder so many of us find it monumentally hard to go ahead and act on a choice. You need a clear head, which the daily chaos most of us are clouded in (commutes, emails, meetings, deadlines) rarely allows. Why not up sticks to Jordan instead? Our adventure to this Middle Eastern country is awash with dazzling experiences. From the moment you arrive in the capital, Amman, you’ll be hit by the sheer pace of life here – played out against an ancient, Lawrence of Arabia-style landscape. Float in the Dead Sea, go canyoning through the Wadi Mujib and soak in the incredible starscape of Feynan ecolodge. This rich plethora of activities will distract your whirring mind, and also provide a backdrop against which your decision can float around and percolate. Eventually, you’ll stumble upon the answer without even trying.
If you’re truly fed up
The remedy: The Philippines
Sometimes, it can be difficult to pin down why you’re mildly unhappy at work. It may be stress, it may be lack of support, it may be that you’re not challenged enough. Or, it could be a combination of all of these things and more. For such scenarios – a general feeling of malaise – make the Philippines your friend. This gorgeous country can’t fail to lift your spirits; there’s something here to suit everyone, and it’s a truly indulgent escape. Get rid of some of those tension knots by taking a paddle in the cobalt blue waters of the Bacuit Archipelago, with your private boat and beach glamping experience on-hand for further adventures. Savour legendary Filipino hospitality in the luxurious confines of the Amorita Resort on the tip of Bohol’s Panglao Island. Hop aboard a quad bike to cruise around the gorgeous Chocolate Hills, and relish rooftop drinks in downtown Manila. From its insanely good weather to boutique boltholes and the immense blueness of it all, there’s little about the Philippines that won’t send your soul soaring.
Photos: Flash Pack and Shutterstock