Updated: Oct 31, 2020
In normal years, autumn is often a time of post-holiday blues. The nights are drawing in, you've come back from the sun-drenched beaches and pools, and Christmas is just around the corner.
For some lucky ones that may still be the case in Autumn 2020, but for many, due to cancelled or rearranged holidays, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this autumn is different.
Worries over job security, working from home, home schooling, health concerns, local and national restrictions that regularly change, and then holidays being disrupted have left us as a nation, weary, tired and in desperate need for a holiday.
Holidays are good for us. They let us unwind, have a purpose away from the usual daily grind, allow us to have fun with friends and family, and provide us with a welcome boost of vitamin D. For many I know, especially those who may not be happy in their work, the holiday is the one thing they look forward to to get them through the day. In short, holidays are great for your mental wellbeing and health. They help us recharge our batteries.
When, as happened for so many this year, these plans don't materialise, or are changed, it can put people into a state of depression and fatigue. Short rearranged breaks in this country may have helped a little bit, but to you it may not be the same as meeting Mickey Mouse in Florida, lazing by a pool, or having that holiday romance with a Spanish waiter. Reorganising a holiday or cancelling it and waiting for refunds may even be adding to the angst.
The dream of that holiday is still there, but it didn't happen when you wanted it to - it doesn't feel the same. Your home doesn't overlook the sea or have that Jacuzzi you wanted to go in every day.
You've saved all year for that week or two in the sun, it was cancelled, and you are wondering what the point of life is anyway. All made much worse by hospitality and socialising restrictions here in the UK.
All this can affect both your home and work life.
So what can you do? Remember, nowhere in the UK is in total lockdown any more. You can holiday or take days out with your household in most of the UK.
What you can do when you get there depends on local restrictions at the time, so you may want to explore your local areas more this year at weekends or on days out this half term. Plan your days out - you may need to book a place at an attraction. Zoos like Chester, theme parks like Alton Towers, nature reserves like Martin Mere, historical sites like those of English Heritage are all open if you book in advance. And Blackpool Illuminations are with us until the new year this year.
It may not be the sun and warmth of a fortnight in the Canary Islands, but it's the next best thing. Support your local tourist industry and help them save the jobs they create. Turn the negatives in your head into positives, and have some fun at the same time.
And plan for next year or the year after. Plan a bigger, better holiday than you had planned for this year. There are, after all, some amazing offers on at the moment from your local travel agent or representative.
Whatever you do, whatever else coronavirus throws at us, stay positive, keep active, and plan for that week in the sun when the chance returns. The holidays will return bigger and better than ever.
This post was originally going to be about post-holiday blues, as part of our Four Seasons of Health and Safety campaign, but due to COVID-19, we changed it slightly.