Take inspiration from these self-care practices from around the world, including afternoon naps, embracing laziness and drinking in your underwear.
Life as we know it has been turned on its head this year, with the global pandemic forcing governments around the world to impose various restrictions. As we adjust to our new reality, managing stress and staying on top of self-care is a priority. From simple tips to long-held traditions, take inspiration from these wellness rituals from around the world and practise some lockdown self-care.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Find pleasure in doing nothing
With all the extra time we’re spending at home, a lot of us are feeling the pressure to keep ourselves busy by learning new skills or following rigorous fitness regimes. Keeping busy might work for some, but it’s more than OK to use this time to slow down and enjoy the sensation of simply being. In Italy, there’s a phrase that focuses on the art of doing nothing – il dolce far niente. It’s a philosophy that’s ingrained in the Italian way of life, one that encourages enjoying the moment and finding pleasure in idleness. In our new reality, reframing our idea of laziness as an act of self-care and living il dolce far niente could really take the pressure off.
Drink hot water
In China, drinking hot water is a healthcare practice with its origins in ancient Chinese medicine. From regulating body temperature to aiding digestion, the health benefits of hot water are seemingly endless. Siukei Cheung, a former commissioning editor at Culture Trip, says she drinks a glass of hot water first thing in the morning, as doing so is thought to kick-start your digestive system and detoxify your body. If you’re struggling with anxiety during the crisis, replacing your usual cup of coffee with a mug of hot water might be a good idea.
Laugh away the stress
Ever heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”? It’s a theory put into practice with laughter yoga, a movement started in India by Dr Madan Kataria in 1995. As you’d expect, laughter yoga involves a series of stretching exercises intended to provoke fits of giggles. The stress-busting benefits of laughter – even fake laughter – have been proven time and again; laughing is a simple way to naturally release endorphins and trigger feelings of elation. You don’t need someone else around to crack jokes, either, as there are plenty of laughter yoga tutorials to follow online.
Practise Ayurvedic rituals
The rituals and regimens of Ayurveda, a holistic healing practice with origins in ancient India, can prove to be a great way to establish order and routine in your day during quarantine. Its core principles involve waking up before the sun, meditating and practising self-care rituals such as oil massages. “I practice a few Ayurvedic rituals every day, like drinking lemon in hot water,” says Josephine Platt, commissioning editor at Culture Trip. She also practises oil pulling, whereby you swill your mouth with coconut oil. It might seem like a strange thing to do, but as with many Ayurvedic practices, it has health benefits and is thought to strengthen your gums and whiten your teeth. “My boyfriend thinks I’m very odd,” she says.
Drink in your underwear
If you’ve ever got home from work, slipped into comfy clothing and cracked open a beer, you’ve practised a Finnish tradition known as kalsarikännit. The word literally translates to “underwear-drunk”, and while it might seem like an unusual philosophy to live by, at its essence it captures the feeling of relaxing in your most comfortable, natural state, and throwing inhibitions out the window. It’s an easy ritual to practise, particularly in the era of isolation: achieving kalsarikännit relies on only you, your favourite spot on the couch and your beverage of choice.
Take a nap
From the Japanese inemuri to the Spanish siesta, taking a midday nap is a lifestyle habit observed in many cultures across the world. It might seem counterintuitive to get back into bed when you haven’t even left the house, but according to native Andalucian Silvia Chiclana Chaves, the siesta is proving a comforting practice in times of uncertainty – and is even helping with productivity. “For me, siesta is a really productive and comforting thing when your mind is busy and overwhelmed, especially during these times of stress in quarantine,” she says. “A short 30-minute rest can reset your mind and well-being; some people will have a coffee, I will have my siesta.” Timing your siesta is key, however. “Any longer than 30 minutes, and you will be tired for the rest of the day.”
Enjoy a nice cup of tea
Sometimes, something as simple as a cup of tea can do wonders for calming nerves and bringing a feeling of warmth and wellness to your day. The British are the biggest proponents of the comfort provided by a humble cup of tea, drinking over 60bn cups a year. Taking a break for tea and biscuits in the afternoon is a custom that’s been observed in Britain since the 19th century – for many Brits, there’s nothing that can’t be solved by a good cuppa.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.