And just like that, it feels like summer outside, and people are flocking to beautiful destinations for MDW to kick off the season.
Summer travel is a blast, but you may be stressed and wondering: how can I go on vacation while still feeling good and maintaining my routine?
Get out of an all-or-nothing mentality tempting you to forget all your goals when things get funky. Rather than feel overwhelmed during stressful times, travel, or other disruptions, focus on what you can control.
It IS possible to find balance and prioritize your well-being on vacation.
Think of vacation as an extension of your day-to-day life rather than an escape. If you embrace balance and step away from an all-or-nothing mentality in your everyday life, you can do the same when you travel. On the other hand, if you have an overly restrictive weekly diet and exercise regimen at home, it's natural that you would feel out of control on vacation when you eat fun meals and can't exercise the same way. Instead, embrace a definition of health that celebrates balance and a keen awareness of how you feel. I encourage you to be flexible while staying consistent with non-negotiables that keep you feeling good even if you aren't perfect.
Now that we're on the same page, I know you're rushing to finish your work, pack, and catch your flight. Let's dive into how to embrace your upcoming vacation while maintaining the habits that make you feel good.
Tips to feel grounded on vacation:
1. Bring a reusable water bottle and drink water!
Stay dedicated to hydration throughout your travels by keeping a water bottle with you and remembering to drink water with meals. I like these water bottles from Stanley and Shaker with the top handle because it makes them easy to carry while walking around.
Follow these 4 steps on the day of travel for optimal hydration:
Drink one bottle en route to the airport
Refill after security and finish another bottle pre-flight
Refill before boarding and hold off on other beverages in-flight
Refill once more at the destination airport before hopping in the Uber
Benefits of hydrating when traveling:
Counteract the dehydrating nature of air travel and reduce the likelihood of jet lag
Maintain moisture in skin (no one likes feeling dried or chapped on vacation)
Aid regular digestion
Improve overall mood and energy
2. Commit to your non-negotiable habits.
Just because you are traveling does not mean that you have to completely upend your sense of normalcy. Don’t be afraid to adjust your regular practices rather than scraping them all together while away. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by not being able to complete your perfect routine, choose a few daily non-negotiable habits that you can commit to even while traveling.
These are some of my daily routines and the way I modify them while traveling:
Write 3 things I’m grateful for but switch out my favorite journal for the Notes app on my phone
Follow my daily skincare routine utilizing products like Cadence to pack my favorite products in travel size
Stretch. I love stretching after travel, after I wake up, or right before I go to bed
Other ideas include
Take a daily walk
Meditate for 5 minutes
Prioritize eating a protein-focused breakfast
These non-negotiable routines help us connect to ourselves to feel grounded and present in the moment.
3. Engage in daily movement.
Body movement not only gives us energy and boosts endorphins, but also provides mental clarity and makes us feel stronger physically and mentally.
It's fun to explore the activities your destination has to offer (biking, hiking, skiing, golf, tennis, etc.) or to try a new exercise studio. Walking is also a wonderful way to explore a new place while maintaining consistency for mind and body.
On a girls' trip to DC, we attended a complimentary cycling class, which was a fun and sweaty way to start the day. I also like to use the Peloton app for yoga or strength workouts that I can do anywhere and in any time frame.
4. Be prepared with snacks.
We are not our best selves when we are hangry and without easily accessible snacks.
Some travel-friendly snacks I like include:
Turkey and cheese roll-ups
Simple Mills crackers with guac, hummus, or peanut butter
Lightly salted nuts
Turkey sandwich or PB&J
Fruit (apple, banana, berries) with nut butter (almond or peanut butter)
5. Incorporate normal eating habits while enjoying meals out and trying new foods.
Vacation is a great opportunity to explore new restaurants and cuisines. This doesn't mean you have to forgo being conscientious of what fuels you and sits well. Breakfast can be a good time to stick with something protein-focused that you would normally eat at home such as eggs, greek yogurt and berries, or oatmeal. It's also a great idea to prioritize something green (or fibrous) at all meals such as a side salad or veggie.
Let's also not forget the importance of enjoying yourself. Sharing special culinary experiences with friends and family is often at the heart of vacation. Sometimes meals leave us feeling full or bloated. Going for a walk after meals and drinking plenty of water are two strategies to aid digestion. I also encourage making a conscious effort to leave any feelings at that meal and proceed with the rest of the day/trip without guilt or fixation over what you've consumed.
6. Get that beauty rest!
I don't have to tell you that sleep is important. What I can add is that sleep while traveling is tricky because many factors are out of your control. Is the mattress to your desired firmness? Is the temperature optimal for sleep? Are there unfamiliar sounds or silence?
Take a few measures that are in your control to encourage an optimal sleep routine:
Pack your favorite PJs and fuzzy socks
Stick to your turn-down routine. Think skincare regimen, stretching, and reading a few pages of a book before bed.
Address any temperature concerns. Turn on the AC or open the windows and prepare the bed with your preferred level of coverage, often stripping off the heavy comforter/quilt.
7. Pack smart.
I have been known to overpack with the logic that I like to feel prepared. Unfortunately, checking bags costs time and can result in losing luggage. Thus, I've been on a journey to travel carry-on with everything I need without the Battle Royale as I sit on top of my suitcase and pray that it will zip.
Here is what I've been working on to be prepared and still pack light:
Think thoroughly through the activities and plans scheduled and write out what you'll need
Factor in exercise clothes, pjs, and undies
Take a minimalist approach to accessories, especially bulky shoes, and pack only one purse, hat, and pair of sunglasses
If flying, wear the heaviest outerwear (usually a sweatshirt) and bulkiest shoes (sneakers) with joggers and a t-shirt
Try to leave room for a potential new acquisition while traveling
8. Wear sunscreen.
Nothing kills a mood on vacation like a sunburn. And no one wants skin cancer or wrinkles. That's all.
I've been using this sunscreen recently and loving it.
9. Prep your home to jump back into routine seamlessly.
To avoid further exacerbating the post-travel blues, prepare your apartment to be clean and organized upon your arrival.
Some things to do in preparation:
Wash your sheets so that your bed is made with clean sheets
Run the dishwasher upon leaving
Throw out the trash–no spookiness upon arrival
Plan to go on a walk to the grocery store the morning after you arrive home
10. Practice gratitude and mindfulness.
Enjoy yourself! Let yourself relax, disconnect, and feel present in the moment.
For me, this looks like:
Limiting phone use
Taking off my Apple Watch
Leaning into the people/places/things around me in the new setting
And don't forget to give yourself grace!
These are just suggestions based on activities I utilize to feel balanced and consistent when traveling. I celebrate going with the flow and being flexible. Take the time to slow down, enjoy yourself, and take what you need from your vacation.