Extend the benefits of your much-anticipated vacation
Planning stress and thoughts about returning to work can potentially shorten the duration of your vacation health boost. Here are some strategies to help you “let go” for longer, so you can extend the benefits of your time away from the everyday.
Want to make the most of your vacation? Whether your ideal getaway takes you deep into the wilderness so you can commune with nature, to the calm oasis of a healing retreat, or to a luxury resort that will cater to your every hedonistic whim, most of us have the goal of “leaving it all behind” while we're away. Along with recovering from work stresses, time away allows us to detox from noise pollution and other assaults on our senses, busy schedules that can lead to suboptimal food choices, challenging relationships, and, of course, less than healthy habits. And while you may not need a scientific study to tell you that taking a break is good for your health, researchers have determined that longer vacations are better for your well-being than short ones. However, planning stress and thoughts about returning to work can potentially shorten the duration of your vacation health boost. Here are some strategies to help you make the most of your vacation and "let go" longer, so you can extend the benefits of your time away from the everyday.
We get into the habit of worrying—about money, health, relationships, and work commitments—to the point that we can fret away an entire vacation. Instead, make a list of everything you might worry about while away, and be sure to proactively address each item before you leave home.
When you catch yourself in a mental tizzy when you’re supposed to be unwinding, you can remind yourself you’ve taken care of it!
If we weren’t affected by our surroundings, we wouldn’t be re-energized by the majesty of a mountain, calmed by ocean waves, or lulled to sleep by the drum of rain on a cabin roof. It’s also true that tripping over shoes at the front door, moving stacks of papers around the kitchen table at mealtime, and lacking time for overflowing laundry hampers can affect the way we feel—but usually not in a peaceful way.
Let your tranquil vacation state of mind expand into your return home by leaving your space clean and tidy.
While it’s true that your body has detox mechanisms working 24-7, these systems can get as overworked as you can. (And how effective are you when you’re exhausted?) Evidence of an overworked system could include inflammation and pain, fatigue, hair loss, poor sleep, skin eruptions, and weight gain. Consider giving your detox organs a vacation too, by reducing their workload. Plus, letting go of belly bloat and excess weight before your trip might be just the ticket if your vacation plans involve shorts, tank tops, bathing suits, or dive gear you haven’t worn since last season! Both the simplest and, for some, the most difficult way to release water weight, decrease fat-stimulating inflammation, reduce cravings, smooth your tummy, and begin the process of loosening your jeans is to omit refined sugar (starting with desserts and snacks) from your menu. Letting go of sugar might also improve your mood, send you blissfully to sleep at night, and allow you to awaken refreshed. Along with desserts, leave pre-packaged foods on the grocery store shelves, as they are often filled with sugars, as well as excess sodium and chemical preservatives. Focus your diet on easy-to-digest fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein. Be conscious of the toxins in your environment, too. Makeup, shampoo, shaving cream, and household cleaning products contain toxins that we breathe and slather on our skin. Chemicals in these products have been linked with everything from skin rashes to belly fat to cancer. Detox your cupboards of products containing potentially health-damaging products. Be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush out debris. Remember that drastic dietary changes can lead to tummy troubles, headache, and mood swings that could last for several days. To make the most of your vacation, begin any detox program several weeks before departure.
Consider using herbal support for your pre-vacation detox. Aloe vera leaves, for example, may help ease up constipation that can trigger bloating, headache, and unhappy skin. Fibre supplements may be helpful both to clean out the system and to support balanced blood sugar—which may help reduce carb cravings.
New research shows that the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha will not only support your body through stress, but may also help move toxic silver nanoparticles from your liver and kidneys. Silver nanoparticles are widely used for killing bacteria in personal care products and home cleaning products, surgical equipment, and some contraceptive devices.
For some of us, the ideal vacation involves enjoying all that life has to offer, including unrestricted food and drink. If throwing moderation out the window is your idea of holiday bliss, feel free to skip the next section. If, instead, you’d like to use your time away to help reset your health and wellness goals, here are some simple and enjoyable strategies.
Cravings can sometimes result from nutrient deficiencies that we misinterpret as a wish for chocolate or French fries. Avoid cravings by front-loading nutrients with a morning greens drink. Eliminate blood sugar crashes that can send you to the dessert cart by keeping glucose levels balanced: include protein, fat, and fibre in each meal and snack—especially breakfast.
Enjoy local fruits and vegetables to your heart’s content. (If you’re travelling to a tropical destination, clarify that the produce is cleaned with purified water.) Seaside resorts often have a variety of fish and seafood on the menu, which is low in calories from saturated fats and a good source of metabolism-boosting essential fats. Be sure to steer clear of the cream sauces and butter dips if clean eating is a goal. Keep sweetened and alcoholic beverages to a minimum, and instead hydrate with plenty of pure, filtered H2O and herbal teas.
Help move the toxins out of your body by getting active: try a new sport, play in the ocean with your kids, or do your sightseeing on a bicycle or horseback. Treat yourself to a spa day, or sweat out the toxins with hot yoga or a sauna. Finish the day with a contrast (hot then cold) shower to re-energize skin.
Free your mind from the frequently stress-inducing media images and messages that bombard us daily. Make the most of your vacation by avoiding social media debates and emails from your toxic co-worker while you are taking a break. If you can, lock your cell phone in the hotel safe until it’s time to go home.
Mix a vacation’s worth of greens powder and protein powder in a zipper bag to toss into your carry-on luggage. Unexpected meal delays won’t have you grabbing snacks from a vending machine.