Why is it that as soon as we head back into the school term, the holidays – and our ‘holiday selves’ – feel like a distant memory?

Research commissioned by Carnival Cruise Line aimed to find out, and the results didn’t exactly surprise us. Three quarters of the Aussie parents who took part in the survey admitted to preferring their holiday selves over their regular selves, and around the same number believed their families preferred their holiday self too!

So, what makes our holiday selves so different from our regular selves? According to the survey, most people believe it has to do with feeling relaxed, not having to do household chores, feeling disconnected from their busy lives and waking up to a new view each day. For parents in particular, a big factor is also keeping the kids entertained.

This was closely followed by getting more sleep (41%), more exercise (40%) and catching up with friends and family over a meal (35%). Additionally, half of parents (49%) say they have more patience for their kids when on holiday than they do at home, reflecting the positive benefits a holiday can have on our mood and a happy household.

that the mental health benefits of your holiday begin before your bags are even packed.

“We can benefit from holidays by learning from our “holiday self”; that person who’s more fun, more relaxed and who connects more with family,” says founder and CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) of The Happiness Institute, Dr Tim Sharp, aka ‘Dr Happy’. “There’s no reason we can’t be that person more often; in fact if we can, we’ll get closer to living our best possible lives.”

Here are a few ways to embrace your school holiday self, even during the school term.

Discover new places

According to Carnival Cruise Line, over two thirds of Australians believe discovering new places is what makes a holiday fun. But you don’t need to board a plane or even get in the car to discover new places – there is so much to see and do in your neighbourhood, as long as you know where to look! Take more aimless strolls to look at the homes and parks around your area, chat to your neighbours to find out their favourite local spots or do some research online (Facebook community pages are a great starting point). You’ll be amazed at what you discover. 

Treat yourself

Over 42 percent of parents surveyed believed that their children would cite ‘eating their favourite foods’ as the best part of a holiday, so why not do more of that in your own life? Let your kids request their all-time favourite dinner one night a week, and go on mini food pilgrimages on the weekends – from cafes to buffets, our corner of the country is brimming with delicious foods.

Share the load

Most parents will agree that perhaps the best, yet least talked about, part of a holiday is not having to cook or clean. It’s truly bliss! While you can’t dodge all of your housekeeping responsibilities back home, you can share the load to ensure these tedious tasks don’t take their toll. Set up a chore chart to get the kids in on the housework, or consider splurging on a cleaner if you’ve got the budget for it. It’s all about freeing up space in your mind and routine to focus on the important things – like, you!

Prioritise your physical health

Both mentally and physically! If you’re the type to stick to a great exercise routine when you’re on holiday, but let it fall to the wayside at home, consider what it is about your holiday fitness routine that makes it so easy to stick to. Perhaps it’s because the gym is right there on-site? Then, set up a mini home gym and try online workouts (a small set of weights, bands and a yoga mat will do the trick!). And if you’re on to walk a lot more on holidays, start ditching the car and add more walking into your daily routine.

Prioritise your mental health

One of the best parts of a holiday – especially for busy parents – is being able to disconnect from life back home. Of course, you can’t do that while you actually *are* at home, but there are a few simple tricks to help feel more mellow. Choose a portion of your day to have screen-free time, including your phone, computer, TV and even your Kindle (notice the feeling of real pages between your fingers instead!). Get the whole family in on it by coming up with fun, screen-free activities to do in the meantime.



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.