Elizabeth Hurley is enjoying a #pretendvacation: Is reminiscing about holidays good for your mental health?
Watch: Elizabeth kicks off 10 day #pretendvacation in green bikini.
Elizabeth Hurley is coping with lockdown by reminiscing about sunnier and happier times when she was able to go on holiday.
Like so many of us, Hurley is missing being able to travel to distant shores and has decided to cheer herself up by looking through her old bikini snaps and pretending she’s away on vacation.
The actor, 55, kicked off her 10 day #pretendvacation at the end of January by sharing an image of her dancing in a bikini on a tropical beach.
“Pretend vacation!” she wrote in the accompanying caption. “I’m so fed up with being at home, I’m pretending I’m away and am living vicariously through my camera roll for the next 10 days.”
Read more: Why we're turning to nostalgia to get us through lockdown 2.0
Since then she’s posted an image of her every day in a different bikini on a different holiday.
No doubt Hurley hopes that taking a walk down holiday memory lane will remind her that better times could be on the way.
Hurley certainly isn’t the only one harking back to happier holiday times in a bid to relieve the gloom of lockdown.
Several other celebrities have also been posting throwback snapshots from beach breaks, clearly feeling nostalgic about sunnier times as lockdown three continues across the UK.
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From Michelle Keegan reminiscing about sun-kissed holidays with her husband Mark Wright, to Salma Hayek sharing images of dreamy tropical locations and Amanda Holden sharing a throwback image after expressing her disappointment at having to cancel her holiday planned over the festive period, it seems celebrities are hoping to get through the latest lockdown by turning to memories of holidays old.
Read more: Should I book a holiday? Experts weigh in
Wanting to reminisce about far flung vacations while all but essential travel is off the cards, is totally understandable, but what impact is harking back to the ghost of holidays past going to have on our mental health at a time when it is already under strain?
The impact of reminiscing about holidays on our mental health
According Dr Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, we’re feeling the need to reminisce about holidays right now in order to revisit the happier moments in life.
“It’s a romanticism of a past life, which felt more relaxed and carefree,” she explains.
Dr Touroni says there are certainly some emotional benefits to recalling sunnier times sat on a beach with a strawberry Daquiri in hand.
“Holidays have a positive mental effect,” she explains. “And given that we don’t have access to them in the way we normally would, recollecting holidays from the past can help us connect with feelings of fun and wellness.
“They can also help us feel more hopeful about the prospect of them happening again in the future.”
But while there are some positives to reminding yourself of sunnier times, there are a couple of things to watch out for before taking a bikini-clad walk down holiday memory lane.
“It comes down to how you connect to a memory,” Dr Touroni explains. “The risk is that the mind can start creating judgements and comparisons with past experiences.
“When we start creating a narrative that life in the past was somehow better than the present, this can end up causing more anxiety and negative feelings.
“Ultimately, reminiscing only provides temporary comfort. The most important thing is that we find a way to adjust and make peace with our current situation rather than losing ourselves in the past.”
So spending a rainy day scrolling through your photos of sunnier climes shouldn’t come at the expense of living in the present and making peace with the fact that, for now, the best we can hope for is an Aperol Spritz in front of the fire.
Equally we shouldn’t lose hope that we will holiday again and until then we’re just going to have to make do with falling down the odd holiday pic rabbit hole.