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Feel Your Best On Vacation

Vacation can be such a wonderful gift of new experiences, sights, sounds, smells and tastes. It is the chance to make once in a lifetime memories, connect with nature, culture or community. Hopefully our goal is to feel our best so that we can soak in all that it has to offer. This sometimes could be easier said than done, because it may also involve stressful flights, traffic, packing, fighting children, a new sleep schedule, and new or overindulgence in food, all of which could leave us feeling tired, stressed and with tummy troubles. Here are some reminders about taking care of you and your family this summer vacation.

1. Plan ahead Some extra leg work on the front end, will allow you to relax and enjoy more easily while you are there. Besides making arrangements for your travel plans, map out a schedule that allows you to adjust your body’s rhythms for sleep, eating and eliminating. If you are changing time zones, try adjusting your bedtime and wake time by an hour in that direction a week or so prior to leaving. You could also consider adding a small dose of melatonin at the time of your destination bedtime. Especially if you have any dietary restrictions or just like to make sure there are healthy options research restaurants ahead of time. If you don’t know the language, try using a food allergy translator app that helps communicate your needs. Mother nature may not send the signal if you’re always on the go and away from your usual bathroom. If you have trouble with constipation on vacation, plan ahead for designated time to use the toilet.

2. Communication Make special effort to ensure that all travel companions have a voice. Try using “I” statements when talking about your feelings. Recognize that not everyone may get exactly what they want and try to come to some compromise. Split up if needed, so that everyone can experience as much of what they are looking forward to on the trip. Get kids involved in the planning, and feeling prepared for travel. For little ones who have never been on a plane before, let them know about the process or allow them to watch a video about air travel. Set expectations ahead of time for older kids about phone or screen time. Try to get their input about other activities they may enjoy.

3. Practice Mindfulness According to mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” This practice allows us the space in which to respond instead of react. This is important in everyday life, but can be especially helpful in dealing with all the stressors of travel. Also, staying in the present can help us appreciate all the wonderful sights and experiences that we intended for our vacation.

4. Be prepared Get any travel related vaccines at least 1 month prior to travel. Ask your doctor if you should take medicine to prevent malaria. Make sure to pack any maintenance medicines or supplements. A first aid kit, hand sanitizer and sunscreen can also come in handy for most trips. Pack along some healthy snacks like nuts, seeds and protein bars, and a refillable water bottle. Eucalyptus essential oil and chewing gum may also be helpful for avoiding ear pain and pressure during air travel.

5. Moderation The 80/20 rule is a good guideline. This means purposefully keeping up your healthy decisions 80% of the time, and then allowing the other 20% to be led by joy. This balance allows you to stick to your healthy habits of choosing nutritious foods, keeping your body active, and making time for sleep most of the time, which means you can stay energized, focused and well rested to make the most of your trip, and ENJOY those indulgences when you choose. After all, it is vacation!

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