Mindful minibreaks, yoga for digital nomads and an 'interstellar' eye mask to soothe nervous flyers: It's the traveller's Be Happy Hotlist
Self-care isn't selfish. In fact, it's the foundation on which we can build the best versions of ourselves, which is better for everyone in the long run.
The Shelf Help ethos is all about making our well-being a priority and looking after our mind, body and soul, at home and away.
And so welcome to the 'Be Happy Hotlist', a weekly dose of five self-loving things that I am doing right now (other than reading) to help me stay positive, centred, healthy and calm.
This week I have been...
1. SLEEPING...in Gatwick airport
2. STRETCHING...out my 'laptop hunch' with Anti-Desk Yoga
3. CHILLING...with Spacemasks
4. EATING...travel snack packs
5. PLANNING...a Sussex staycation
1. SLEEPING...at the airport
No, not on the plastic chairs (been there, done that, now officially too old for that sh!t, thank God) but in the brilliant invention that is the Bloc Hotel, a hotel inside Gatwick airport that means a couple of crucial extra hours of sleep before those so-early-are-they-actually-the-middle-of-the-night? Easyjet flights.
Wellbeing on the move starts with getting enough sleep, and a night here costs quite a lot less than a 4am taxi from my place to the South Terminal, which means the Bloc is top of my travel 'must-haves' list when I'm flying in the cheap seats. Yes, the 'rooms' are more like large cupboards, but they have a shower, loo, TV, WiFi, a comfy bed, are just ten minutes from Departures, two minutes from Costa Coffee, and most offer a view of the runway for the plane geek in your life.
2. STRETCHING... out my 'laptop hunch' with anti-desk yoga
Living the freelance dream means many hours spent tapping away on my MacBook in coffee shops, hotel lobbies, airport lounges, taxis, flights and even on the bus (God bless the 'hotspot' mode for those super tight deadlines). This is bad BAD news for the spine, neck, hips and shoulders.
Frame's new Anti-Desk Yoga is specifically designed to ease bodily tensions for those of us tied to a desk and/or laptop. The class is a gentle flow style focusing on releasing the shoulders, improving posture and bringing length to your body. I tried it at the Frame King's Cross studio earlier this week and have been trying to keep up the good work on my holiday.
3. CHILLING... in a Spacemask
I was introduced to these heat-up eye masks on a flight back from Ibiza recently and they will now forever be my go-to in-flight product. I love the jasmine scent and snazzy pattern and my flying pal Shelly Vella loved them as a way to ease take-off jitters. Calming, cool and lovely.
4. EATING... travel snack packs
It's easy to let healthy eating habits slide when we're travelling, especially when factoring in early starts and Easyjet Pringles. Having a few healthy snacks like protein balls and roasted seeds to hand are a good way to avoid loading up on awful plane food. They can also save you calories AND cash at your destination when you're tempted to hit the pricey mini bar.
5. PLANNING... a Sussex staycation
The pretty town of Arundel in Sussex beat bohemian Ibiza to be named the best location in Europe for a mindful mini break this week. The Mindful Getaway Guide by TravelSupermarket features the top 20 UK and European destinations to visit to embrace mindfulness, ranked according to Mindful Sites (the number of mindful activities at each destination e.g. yoga/meditation), Mindful Setting (population, density) and Mindful Relaxation (number of spa and treatment offerings).
The site describes Arundel thus: "Set within the stunning vale of the South Downs, it has a surprisingly booming wellness community and opportunities are plenty for soul seekers including yoga retreats, mindful workshops, nature reserves and more."
Norfolk’s seaside town Southwold ranked second and Greek island Skyros was in third place, thanks to "peaceful seclusion with notable yoga and creative retreats, and an abundance of wild countryside.".