Ahhh… vacation. We’ve earned it. The long hours, daunting projects, and tedious tasks at work and home left behind. Pleasure awaits. No responsibility. The cocktails, dinners, local delicacies are a given. It is what we do on vacation. Part of the experience. Vacation is permission to be “naughty” after being so good the rest of the time. The implication being that the rest of the time, the non-vacation time, is about calorie counting, deprivation, work outs, going to bed earlier than you want because of an early morning meeting, diets- all shoulds. Vacation is about want-tos.
This mindset gets us into trouble.
• It derails positive habits and prevents us from getting any progress or benefits from all our efforts.
• We start to feel sluggish, gassy, and depleted during our vacation which is so not-the-point.
• We return home bloated and discouraged. Like purchases made with a credit card, we borrow from our health only to return home to a bill, or a bigger belly, demanding prompt payment.
• This approach creates a culture of exceptions, like birthdays (ours and others), holidays. What started out as the exception becomes the norm, until we have more days off our path than on. We can spend the rest of the year compensating for our deviations. No wonder we tumble into New Years with the same health goal year after year.
• We pick up a cold or a nasty case of remorse.
Often clients early in their 6 month journey with me go on vacation and choose to abandon their fragile new habits. They giggle with delight at the thought of total freedom around food and drink. They think they are getting away with something and the naughtiness feels good. Such fun…until it is not. Quickly they miss how they felt when they were eating the foods that make them feel great. Their tolerance for junk is minimal and they long for the structure of healthy food habits. They may course correct halfway through the vacation, or vow to resume their new ways once home. They are relieved to return to the peace of mind gained through self-care. Their next vacation is very different. They remember how good they feel when they do what they need to do to nourish themselves. Vacation is no longer permission to abandon themselves but an invitation to embrace their needs which only enhances the experience even more.
Letting loose does not need to mean losing yourself. Neglecting ourselves like lost luggage parading aimlessly around the carousel, we vacate ourselves on vacation. How is that working for us? Not so good.
What if we took a few moments to consider how we want to feel during and after the trip? My clients thrive when together we decide on a few non-negotiables for the trip. Like scaffolding on a building, these one or two behaviors hold you up. Select the foundational habit or habits that you know work for you. Let go of the rest and do so with full permission.
Here are some ways to stay connected to your commitment to your health AND feel like you are on vacation. We can be true to ourselves and create beautiful memories.
• A salad once per day
• Daily exercise
• 10,000 steps
• 2 drink maximum
• No alcohol before 5pm
• Meditation practice or simply quiet moments throughout the day to get grounded
• Reading an inspiring book
• Bed before 11
• Morning tea ritual
• Breakfast of juices or smoothies
Unpack your old ideas about vacation. When you take you with you, you are always traveling first class.
If you want help mastering these and other self-care strategies, schedule a complimentary 30 minute session HERE.
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