Taking a vacation... Ahh... Clear blue water and sandy beaches. Or maybe hiking, ziplining, kayaking. Even a “staycation,” hanging out in your hometown, relaxing reading, checking out local spots you’ve always wanted to try. Any way you go with your vacation, it is a break from your everyday routine. Vacations are a great ways to relax, recharge and refresh your body, mind and spirit.
But they can also sabotage your healthy habits. You might indulge in foods or drinks you don’t ordinarily. You might skip your workout routine, stay up late, sleep in late. While these things are fine to do on occasion, after a week or more of doing this, you are changing your rhythm, your pattern, your habits.
This is why it can be so difficult to come back to “reality” after a trip. Here’ s what I recommend you do during your trip and after your trip to keep yourself on track.
During your Trip:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time you usually do, give or take 40 minutes or so. One late night won’t throw you off, but staying up till 1am when you usually go to bed at 10pm will reset your internal clock if you do it for more than a few days.
- Try to maintain healthy eating habits, for the most part. This can be challenging if you have to eat out at every meal. I try to stay in a place that has a little fridge and stove top if possible, so I can prepare some simple things. If this isn’t possible, at least keep fresh fruit and nuts in your hotel room to snack on. Again, one or two high fat /sodium or sugary items shouldn’t completely throw you off course, but indulging too much will.
- Keep up your exercise routine. Even if you have to modify it or shorten it, do something. Jumping jacks, pushups, squats, crunches and some deep stretches will go a long way to keep you in shape on your vacation.
- Take time to center yourself, be fully present and breathe on vacation. Don’t stress about little details or try to do too much.
After your trip or at the end of summer vacation:
- Set a schedule. Write it out. Days and times to exercise. Healthy meals and snacks for the week. And give yourself one or two days to eat out or order pizza. Put the schedule where you can see it. Follow it.
- Go on a Post Vacation Diet Detox. When we return from vacation, my husband and kids know that for two or three days, we are going to eat TONS of veggies, fruit, beans and whole grains. We avoid dessert, meats and dairy during this time. This is our way of “cleansing” after our few not-so-healthy meals from vacation.
- Have a marathon exercise week. Do some sort of exercise every day. Push yourself hard for a whole week, then back off just a bit - maybe 4 or 5 days the following week. Sometimes throwing yourself into exercising can help re-establish a habit.
- Start a meditation practice if you don’t have one already. Taking even five or ten minutes a day to center yourself, breathe and be present will be like taking a little mini- vacation each and every day, no matter how busy you are.