Happy Fake-ation – Get That Holiday Feeling Without Leaving Home

Senior woman sitting on a chair and taking a nap in backyard. Elder woman sleeping in backyard garden

Holidays are brilliant for taking us away from our daily cares and leaving us feeling relaxed and happy. But what if you don’t have the time or money to get away? Can you create that “holiday feeling” without leaving your own home?

Here’re five leading wellness experts on how to have a fantastic “Happy Fake-ation”.

Play like a child

Teenage girl listening to the music and shaking head

Pic: iStockphoto

Dr of Happiness Andy Cope says one of the best things we can do on a ‘Fake-ation’ is act our shoe size. Andy says think back to when you were a kid. The playground was a back-drop to discovery, adventure, first-times and full-times. You’ve spilt crisps on that playground. Monster Munch. Maybe Space Invaders. And now?

Somewhere between then and now you grew up. For most adults, playtime has ended. We don’t rise and shine, instead we rise and whine. To help you re-learn to have fun, it’s worth making a mental note of what’s called the ‘Pratfall Effect’, a phenomenon whereby you are deemed more attractive when you’re being a bit of an idiot. Hang in there, I promise you this is an actual scientifically proven fact. Example. Imagine you’re at a wedding, an evening do, the party’s slacking so you decide to take the bull by the horns and be the first one on the dance floor. Nobody follows. Not a sole. The Pratfall Effect says that rather than retire sheepishly to the bar he should give it the full Saturday Night Fever. No half measures. The full Travolta for the full 4 minutes. Revelling in your faux pas and coming off the dance floor with a huge sweaty grin – that, ladies and gents, is the key to happiness and gorgeousness.

What it does mean, is that you’ve got to put yourself out there. Somewhere along the line we exchange our shoe age for our chronological age, and I’m not entirely sure it’s at all a good thing. Shoesize? I’m 8½. Yep, that sounds about right.

Andy Cope

Dr Andy Cope is a happiness expert and bestselling author of The Little Book of Being Brilliant. Find out more about Andy here . . .

Cover of Little Book of Being Brilliant

Live in the moment

 Psychologist Dr Audrey Tang has a few mindful tricks up her sleeve that will give you a feeling of holiday peace and refreshment without leaving home:

Don’t tell people you’re home!

You will get a few days to enjoy the peace and quiet of an escape without the need to travel.

Brighten your laptop, phone or room with a sunny screensaver/photo

"A baby boy, wearing sunglasses and a sun hat, enjoys a day at the beach.

Pic: iStockphoto

This will give you a quick reminder of happy times and memories and generate a sense of warmth and relaxation even with wind beating at the door. Humans are quickly moved by imagery, and having photos of places you love (with the ensuing memories of people we love attached), can reinforce those feelings of affection as well.

Try something new

Trendy Young Woman With Her Bike, City Street On Background

Pic: iStockphoto

On a bright day, go for a walk taking a new path. Enjoy the new experiences such as the sensation of the sun, the breeze, the new smells or sounds, and see who you meet on your adventure.  Whilst walking take a moment to breathe deeply – in through the nose, and out through the mouth.  Or, join a class or try a new hobby.  You might discover new skills, find an outlet for your inner-diva, or perhaps some interesting people to bounce ideas with.  The best part of all, of course, is as an adult – remember you can choose to leave if you don’t like it!!

Audrey Tang

Audrey Tang

Dr Audrey Tang is a Chartered Psychologist and the author of The Leader’s Guide to Mindfulness, published by FT Publishing, priced £14.99.

Cover of The Leader's Guide to Mindfulness

 Think positively  

A ‘fake-ation’ is the perfect opportunity to reboot your thinking, according to leading personal development coach Bernardo Moya. He suggests:

Take time to visualise and focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. When you vividly imagine achieving your goals you trigger a whole series of subconscious processes that will help you reach your target. You will be working toward your goals without even knowing it.

If you’re not sure what you want – the answer may lie in your past. Look back for clues and valuable information about what you really enjoy doing, and who you are. Then focus on finding ways to do more of that — of what brings you passion and purpose.

Bernardo Moya

Bernardo Moya


Bernardo Moya is a leading personal development coach, founder of The Best You and author of The Question: Find Your True Purpose, priced at £10.99.

Find your true purpose book cover

You are what you eat!

Burritos and tortillas

Pic: iStockphoto

Family wellbeing expert Danni Binnigton says we should never underestimate the impact of food on our mood! For the best ‘fake-ation’ Danni says:

To me holidaying is all about indulging. Indulging in a new culture, foods, into being lazy or adventurous. It’s also about not having to cook every single meal for myself and my family, which is such a big treat. There is one recipe that I make at home that gives me some of that feeling of indulging, and it’s super easy to make. It’s my nut butter date boats with frozen raspberry fillings. Simply cut in half a juicy date, spread your nut butter on top and top with a frozen raspberry (if you don’t have frozen raspberries you could also pop a walnut half or pecan on top). And then indulge, enjoy, eat slowly and absorb that mini moment of bliss. Voila, healthy, simple, sunshine on a plate.

Dani Binnington

Dani Binnington

Dani Binnington is a yoga practitioner, family wellbeing expert and creator of www.healthywholeme.com, which is full of delicious recipes, wellbeing tips and inspiration for a healthy family lifestyle.

Have a mind/body experience

To make the most of your “Fake-ation”, physical intelligence experts Claire Dale and Patricia Peyton have three tips to manage your brain and body chemistry for maximum well-being:

Clear the decks:  Make sure you can leave your work behind you.  Complete milestones leading up to the Fake-action and/or hand off responsibility to trusted colleagues.  Stress from the workplace can linger, especially when we don’t experience a change in setting.  If you’re dwelling on something, talk to someone you trust about it, then commit to letting it go.

Truly Relax:  Even when we think we’re relaxed, we may have residual muscle tension and shallow breathing. To ensure you’re truly relaxed, try:  Meditative Breathing:  breathing diaphragmatically while counting each breath in and out up to ten or Sequential Relaxation:  tensing and releasing muscle groups working sequentially through different muscle groups from toes to head – tense on the out-breath for a count of five, hold for five, release on the in-breath for a count of five. 

A woman receives a deep tissue massage with kneading.  Kneading is a massage technique in the category of petrissage movements

Pic: iStockphoto

Get Some ‘REST’:  Use REST:  Retreat, Eat (healthy), Sleep and Treat as a guide to make your Fake-ation a genuine break.  Retreat with time in nature, yoga, time with family/friends. Experiment with healthy foods, drink lots of water.  Wake without an alarm and get seven hours of sleep minimum daily. Minimize addictive treats (sugar, alcohol).  Indulge in beneficial treats:  massage, physical activity, art, films, musical performances, whatever soothes your soul. Use your energy wisely by balancing high energy activities with opportunities to recharge.

Claire Dale

Claire Dale

Claire Dale and Patricia Peyton are the authors of new wellbeing book Physical Intelligence (Simon & Schuster), available now in ebook and hardback, priced at £14.99.

Physical Intelligence Book Cover


Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!