Recently on a morning news show, the hosts reported on what they would do and not do on vacation. Not surprisingly, many of the group stated that they would do “as little as possible.” Next, they said, “all fun, no healthy food, and no exercise!” As much as it was understandable, these TV personalities were essentially advocating for doing absolutely nothing to a large group of viewers. Of course, we can say that it was all in good fun and designed to bring a human aspect to the show, but it did make me wonder what we actually do plan to do on vacation!
Some people plan to do some very good things on vacation, like touring historic places, attending important events, and seeing new places like the Grand Canyon. But the important part of the vacation is that it is a vacation, right?! And, stress-free. If you pack too much into your trip it can be a source of stress. So, there has to be a way to go about the vacation that will be rewarding for all. Here is some tips from Frank Farley, PhD, of Temple University.
Don’t treat your trip like it’s your job, relax and do what you want to do
Find ways to getaway so that you are able to reboot for good mental and emotional health. Look for ways to change up your daily routines so that you are not getting up at 5:30am. Make sure that you are doing something you really want to be doing. This may be something challenging and relaxing and not something you have to do.
Share the planning burden & give yourself some “wiggle room”
Ask everyone that will be with you to add in their ideas on what to do, as a collaborative effort as a team. Keep plans simple but somewhat timely. If you are catching the train into the Grand Canyon you will need to be there by at least 30 minutes in advance to get your tickets and seats. You don’t want you trip derailed due to scheduling difficulties.
Be prepared – use your resources & keep your mindset in check
Prepare yourself for changes. If something goes wrong, be familiar with locale so that you can get things fixed easily. Another place to practice stress management. With today’s use of GPS, most of us are much better off in finding where we are going. Remember you can control what you are going to feel when things go wrong. I guess you call it self-control. This way you can get back to having fun sooner.
Stick to your personal schedule
If it’s best for you to have a basic schedule of when you get up and when you sleep experts agree, part of the difficulty on vacation is that you can get “way off” normal body rhythms and end up not feeling very well. Personal habits that you can effect on vacation are:
- Get normal amounts of sleep.
- Eat approximately the same foods that you are used to having at home, especially when it comes to dietary fats, salts, and alcohol.
- Get some exercise that will help you stay energized and that you are used to at home.
- Stay hydrated, and watch eating concentrated sources of sugar.
- Take normal medications and supplements with you.
When you return, you will need to get back into your normal routines. Give yourself a chance to transition, because you will feel differently. Mentally prepare yourself for getting back to work and into your routine. After all, just taking a vacation is a healthy step in the right direction!
Written by Rita Larsen, RDN, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Rita is certified in Positive Psychology, University of Penn; has a BS in Dietetics from Kansas State University; and an Internship and Masters at the Indiana University Medical Center.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.