Staying Active on a Restful Vacation
Ah, the internal moral dilemma that is vacation; we all know it well. The devil on your shoulder is telling you “relax, sleep in, take a break from your normal habits, eat whatever you want, don’t workout, have a cocktail at noon, heck have one at breakfast. You deserve it, you worker bee, you!”
On your other shoulder, the angel is prodding, “you have all this flexible time now to live your ideal healthy self! Eat an early, lean dinner at 6pm so you can go to bed at 9pm and wake up with the sunrise; get in that pre-breakfast yoga session and feel accomplished before you’ve even begun your day! Sure, relax with a book on the beach, but don’t you order that spicy marg, or you better hit the gym twice tomorrow!"
At least, these are the conversations my shoulder companions tend to have between my ears, and if they sound at all familiar to you, then keep reading. Because I’m here to tell you how I’ve come to manage these voices, and to allow myself to have a totally enjoyable, active yet restful, and guilt-free vacation.
The key to having a healthy vacation while still enjoying yourself is to stay restfully active. There are so many ways to keep your body moving without grueling through intense workouts— ways that are very meditative, enlightening, and a great way to bond with the people you’re traveling with (or even with just yourself, if going solo!). These little tricks add up over the course of the day to not only get you to easily hit those 10k steps without even thinking about it, but the natural de-stressing benefits allow your mind and body to be relaxed throughout the day. With a relaxed mind comes lower cortisol levels, which, when high, can often hinder our health efforts due to constant anxiety about whether or not we are actually making healthy choices! Oh the irony...
To put it simply, being restfully active enables you to have your spicy marg and drink it too— without falling off the wagon! Here’s how it’s done:
- Walk as much as possible! If it’s too far to walk to wherever you’re going, try to bike. This is also the best way to explore wherever you are and get more in tune with the culture and surroundings by taking it in at nature’s pace rather than modern automotive pace. If neither of these options are really plausible, take a bus/subway and try to stand rather than sit.
- Take advantage of nature: swim in the ocean or lake, hike the mountains, ski the slopes, walk in the sand (which takes more energy and muscle contraction than on stable ground!). Reconnecting with nature is also very grounding and centering, renewing your internal energy and sense of ease.
- Spend a day being a tourist and visit the museums, monuments, historical landmarks, galleries, etc. It’s a lot of time on your feet, and you’re breaking a mental sweat, too, by soaking up all that culture!
- Stretch every morning and every evening. If you don’t have time for a full vinyasa flow, even just 10 minutes twice a day does wonders for waking up your body and preparing it for better sleep.
- Incorporate mini workouts into your day! For example, I like to do side leg raises when brushing my teeth; elevated push-ups off the counter when waiting for my tea to boil; do some hip pulses or side leg lifts when sunbathing (with sunscreen of course!). These all add up.
- Do get your full 8 hours of sleep. If you really need more explanation on why this is important, we need to have a personal chat. HMU.
- Take walks after each meal, especially after dinner. This is a great way to stimulate your digestion, and it can also prevent dessert cravings.
- When it comes to food, as long as you continue to drink lots of water and include lots of fiber and fresh fruits and veggies, you can rest assured that the occasional drink or treat meal is not going to derail you. Our bodies get used to our habits, even healthy ones, so shocking it a bit can even bw good for you!
Follow these tips for staying restfully active, and you’ll likely find yourself genuinely wanting to make healthy choices anyways! And honestly, these are tips you can easily live by everyday, whether on vacation or not.