Stressed out? Time to get your Ibiza Zen on all year round
Give Ibiza 24 hours, and the White Isle will have magically transformed you from a brooding stress head into a Mediterranean Zen goddess. And it’s not just the sun and sand putting that dippy smile on your face.
Ibiza isn’t dubbed the “Capital of Calm” for no good reason. It’s smack bang next to Es Vedra – an enormous rock that’s the third most magnetic place in the world. Spooky! Also, Ibiza’s first settlers worshipped a mythical god called Bes – a big fan of music and dancing – so chilling has always been in this island’s DNA. More recently, hippies and hedonists have flooded to Ibiza, knowing that the bright sunshine, sparkling sea and kick-ass tunes will spring-clean their body and soul like no other destination on Earth.
“In Ibiza, you feel happy, contented, calm and energised,” says Alexandra Massey, author of Life’s A Beach: Keep That Holiday Feeling All Year Round. “But it is possible to capture that elusive Zen when you’re miles away.”
It’s time to give your soul an Ibiza makeover in rainy old Blighty…
The way they eat on the island isn’t just bikini friendly, it’s soul friendly, too. “A typical Ibizan diet, which is rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, can really help people with depression,” says Alexandra. “For instance, tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant that fights depression-causing inflammation of the brain.”
DIY Zen Hold the stodge! Start the day as if you’re at a beach-front hotel, with a bowl of fruit and Greek yoghurt. The calcium in dairy products alerts your brain to release feel-good neurotransmitter chemicals, and Greek yoghurt contains more protein than regular yoghurt, so will keep you going for longer. For the rest of your meals, turn your kitchen into a little corner of Spain. Whack on your Cafe del Mar album while you whip up a mood-boosting tapas spread using lots of tomatoes. Don’t skip the skins – that’s where most of the goodness is – and add a drizzle of olive oil to help your body absorb more lycopene. Red peppers are also a fab source of this mood booster.
Instant Ibiza Check out some of the Mediterranean-inspired recipes on Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog, Goop.com. The gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) taste yummy.
Change your mind
Lounging on the beach with sand between your toes, inhaling deep breaths of salty sea air… yep, in Ibiza, just “being” amounts to a meditation session. As well as giving you that “walking on air” feeling, meditation has serious health benefits. Researchers have found that just 15 minutes of meditation a day can significantly lower high blood pressure and protect the body from a variety of stress-related illnesses.*
DIY Zen First up, get outside and breathe in some fresh air – an office or home can be filled with excess carbon dioxide, but just a few breaths of fresh air will normalise CO2 levels in your body, reviving you from the inside out. “Plus, if you can, take a brisk lunchtime walk through a tree-filled park,” says Alexandra. “Looking at greenery reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and elevates mood.” As you stroll, breathe in a controlled, steady rhythm though your nose, as you would in a yoga class. Try a Taoist tip and gaze upwards rather than down or straight ahead, taking in the view of treetops, clouds or architectural details. This helps you to focus and relax. Remember to turn your phone off, too, so there are no distractions.”
Try this trick while you’re still on holiday: “When you’re lying in the sun and in complete Ibiza bliss, press your index finger and thumb firmly together to ‘anchor’ that feeling,” advises Alexandra. “Keep doing it throughout the holiday. Back home, your brain will be able to recall that feeling when you press your finger and thumb together again, which can help calm you down and transport you into that relaxed holiday headspace.”
Instant Ibiza Tech heads should try the free smartphone app, Headspace On-The-Go, (iTunes). This gently guides you through a mind-balancing session to leave you feeling calmer and more relaxed.
- Magic music! Listening to chill-out tunes slows your heart rate, decreasing the level of stress hormones. Hed Kandi’s new double CD Serve Chilled: Electronic Summer (£9.75, Hedkandi.com) will help calm you.
Pack your suitcase for life
Picture your Ibiza suitcase: your slinkiest clubbing gear, brightest sundresses and the heels that make you feel like Kylie, Cheryl and Jessie J. All pieces you feel fierce in.
DIY Zen Create a feel-good capsule wardrobe at home. “You can’t have fun getting dressed if you can’t see your clothes properly, so have a clear-out and get organised,” advises decluttering expert and former PA to Lily Allen, Vicky Silverthorn. “Keep a drawer for practical items, then donate anything that makes you feel less than amazing to a charity shop.” Double Zen points!
Instant Ibiza Match your look to your mood. Wearing red will energise you, while, green can be calming
Ibiza the action
Sightseeing around the old town, swimming before lunch and dancing all night; a holiday in Ibiza is as good as a boot camp, and you’ve got the toned tum and endorphin rush to show for it. Oh, and it’s 100 per cent more fun than a treadmill slog.
DIY Zen In Ibiza, you’re too busy having a great time to even notice how active you’re being. “This is a lesson we can all bring home in our suitcases,” says Bodyism creator and personal trainer, James Duigan.
“Walk everywhere instead of taking the bus, and rather than going out for dinner and drinks, meet your mates for a game of tennis
Instant Ibiza Boost your active buzz during the day by downloading Desk Yoga, (£1.49, iTunes), which features video demos of energising, tension-relieving, seated yoga positions.