I look forward to summer for so many reasons—and the opportunity to hit the road to explore new places and experiences is way up on my list! I hope you, too, have planned to enjoy some time away during this season of adventure.
One question I hear from clients and patients with a vacation in the works: But I’m doing so well with my goals. How can I ensure I don’t wreck my new good habits when I’m away from home?
I congratulate you for thinking about this before you go. A critical step in maintaining any healthy practice is staying ahead of the game with good planning—and that is doubly true when you’re going to be in unfamiliar territory.
Good for you for having such foresight! Right there, you’ve demonstrated you are up to the task of staying on track with your goals, regardless where you are. Equipped with a little prep-ahead, you absolutely can enjoy the vacation of your dreams without sacrificing all the gains you’ve made at home.
Vacation Challenge 1: Getting off on the wrong foot
So you’re finally here—the place you’ve wanted to be since forever. You’re burning with curiosity, energy, and plans to see and do everything you can before your time here is gone.
Have you prepared yourself physically and mentally for that kind of nonstop activity? If you’re dashing out the hotel lobby each morning without investing in some important self-care, I’m willing to bet you’ll feel shortchanged in the end.
My recommendation: Put your own wellness needs at the top of your daily vacation agenda. Take a little time each morning to get centered. Start your day gently and mindfully with some stretching, deep breathing, yoga, journaling, or even meditation. Then, fuel yourself right—and set the stage for empowering, energizing food choices later—by consciously choosing to sit down for a smart breakfast. A little attention now not only gets your body prepared for the demands you’ll be placing on it throughout the day, it’ll also ensure you stay focused on a healthful mindset—no matter where today’s adventures take you!
Vacation Challenge 2: Healthy meals
I hear you. Depending on where your getaway takes you, sticking close to healthy food choices in an unfamiliar place can be a challenge. Airports, sidewalk kiosks, and museum cafes tend to offer salty, sugary, greasy foods. And too often, a “family-friendly” description on a tourist destination restaurant really translates to “yes, hot dogs are served here.”
My recommendation: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Stray from the beaten path where tourists gather. Instead, explore the real heart of your destination’s food culture. Follow the locals’ lead to the tastiest, most varied food offerings. Don’t speak the language? No problem. Whether the foods you’re searching for are whole, vegan, gluten-free, seafood, locally raised, etc., cellphone restaurant locator apps are designed to find them for you, wherever you are. Cheers—to both your health and your enjoyment!
Vacation Challenge 3: …and healthy snacking
Even if your getaway plans include lots of time for calm R&R, you’ll still be on the go part of the time. And during those bursts of high energy (or even just getting to and from your destination—chased any planes lately?), you’ll need to keep yourself fueled right.
My recommendation: Plan—and pack!—ahead for snacks. Just as with full meals, smart snack choices can be hard to find among a vacation crowd. Prepare for that reality by tucking some simple, lightweight, no-refrigeration-required options like nuts, unsweetened raw trail mix, fresh or dried fruit, and low-sugar granola into your suitcase or carry-on. My favorite? Almonds! You can’t beat these crunchy, tasty gems for healthy fat, protein, fiber, and satisfying deliciousness.
Vacation Challenge 4: Unfamiliar allergies
You may be looking forward to putting the pollens common to your locality in your rearview mirror—and who can blame you. But the flip side of the coin is that something equally irritating to your sensitivities may well be blooming in your vacation spot. What’s an allergy sufferer to do?
My recommendation: Bring your anti-allergy arsenal with you. Whatever works as your best defense at home—saline drops? neti pot? quercetin supplements?—be sure to pack those for your trip as well. (For me, that means anti-allergen pillowcases for use in hotels. They do wonders!)
Vacation Challenge 5: Too much, too much
You’ve seen the famous landmarks. You’ve checked in with nearby friends and family. You’ve had some exhilarating adventures and gathered a bit of culture and history, too…and, with another couple of days of vacation still ahead, all of a sudden, you’ve had enough of this trip.
Sadly, a too-packed getaway can turn into something you want to get away from, so…
My recommendation: Know that it’s okay to say “no.” If what still remains on your trip itinerary threatens to overwhelm you, change the plan. No rule says you must do it all. This is your vacation, indeed, and obligation has no place here. (And just think, leaving a sight unseen now is like giving yourself permission to plan a trip back for more next year. Wink!)
You’ve made a commitment to more energized, more vibrant living, and I am confident you have the will and drive to hold fast to those goals, wherever you are. Just like scheduling your leave days from work or making your ticket reservations, all enjoying the actual vacation takes is a little planning ahead. With that forward-thinking attitude in place, I hope you’ll feel freed to dive into your time off fearlessly. You deserve it. Bon voyage!