I love the vitality and excitement that accompanies summer. This is a perfect season for adventures away, new experiences, and—ahh—a much-needed break from the tension that comes with work and just plain everyday life.
Yet in my practice at this time of year, I sometimes see in my patients and coaching mentees a mild anxiety about upcoming vacations. These women have worked hard in the past months to refocus their goals, recharge their energy, rejuvenate their thinking, and face the world with fresh eyes. They want to give themselves the time off they’ve earned, but they wonder: Will taking a break lead to a downward spiral back into an abyss of poor choices?
My answer: Vacation doesn’t have to mean wellness disaster. Not for them, and not for you, either.
As with so many other good habits, all it takes to ensure that your attention to self-care stays firmly in place during your vacation is a little anticipation and planning ahead.
Many outdoor vacation plans include vigorous physical activity like hiking, waterskiing, walking tours, or swimming. Even if your day promises quieter pursuits—meeting with old friends, visiting museums, or taking in a show—you’ll still want to feel mentally sharp and invigorated. A sensible, energizing meal at the beginning of the day is the best way to fuel your body, no matter what the outing.
What to eat in the A.M.? Premier breakfast choices are packed with energy-sustaining protein and fiber, but are light on the white flour and sugar. Whole fruit, yogurt, whole-grain toast, oatmeal, and eggs are some smart, satisfying options that you probably can find right on your hotel’s breakfast menu.
- Psst! Here’s another great reason not to skip that first meal…
Here’s some “food” for thought: Breakfast is an opportunity each and every day to recalibrate your self-care GPS, whether you’re at home or off someplace exotic. Take charge of your personal wellness needs at the very beginning, and you’ve set the stage for carrying that self-attentiveness forward throughout the day. Now that’s what I call an empowering meal!
Please don’t forget to drink more during this hot, busy season. Water is the best choice for steady, reliable hydration when you’re on the run, but it’s also okay occasionally to vary from “just water” in the less hectic moments. Herbal tea or unsweetened fruit juices are pleasing choices, but try to avoid drinks that have caffeine or added sugars. They don’t quench thirst as quickly—and you don’t need your day spoiled by the crash or cravings that often come with them.
- Carry snacks and water with you.
Rather than take chances on finding healthful snacks in the middle of a tourist area (good luck with that), pack a few essentials before you start out. A couple bottles of water and some nuts or unsweetened breakfast cereal make good traveling companions. They’re easy to tuck into a tote bag or back pack, and they’ll go a long way to keeping you fueled between meals.
- Don’t feel guilty about saying “when.”
Special events, countless meet-ups with family and friends, “must-see” locations—yes, there certainly is such a thing as too much, even when you’re having fun. Don’t let your time off backfire on you. Even vacation days should include adequate rest at night and a little quiet time to recharge alone. By all means, claim yours!
Are you packed and ready? You deserve a getaway, and I’m confident that with a little bit of proactive thinking you can enjoy the most fulfilling and refreshing of vacations—without taking home “souvenirs” like exhaustion or a too-snug waistband. Bon voyage!