Ahh, vacation! It’s all about getting away from the daily grind and doing exactly what you what you want to do. Right?
Well, not if you’re a person who pays attention to your health. Because if you are, slacking off on good-for-you habits while on vacay probably isn’t going to feel all that great.
I learned the hard way. My family and I spend time on Block Island each summer. Last year, I told myself I could ease up on my food choices and ate a lot of fried seafood—which has gluten, which I have now successfully proven many times just doesn’t work well for me. I also left my yoga mat at home and opted to spend my kids’ daily naps playing Candy Crush.
What I thought was going to feel so decadent and restorative actually felt….terrible. I gained five pounds in that week alone, and my digestion took forever to get back to a happy place. I got annoyed by all the ways our rental house wasn’t perfect. It really wasn’t how I wanted to spend summer vacation.
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This experience got me to see—again—how important consistency is when it comes to really important things. It’s so much easier to maintain healthy practices than it is to start them up from zero.
I’m definitely not saying that you’ve got to eat only salads and go on long runs every day of your holiday. But I am saying keep it between the white lines so you return to your daily life without needing a vacation to recover from your vacation. In case you’re not convinced, here are 11 quick reasons why it’s a good idea not to slack off too much during your summer sabbatical:
1. Bad habits don’t feel good. Who wants to feel gassy, tired, constipated and bloated on their vacation? No, seriously, who?
2. Return to reality is easier. When you take that time to do the things that keep you feeling good while you’re away, it will be that much easier to slide back into your normal healthy routines once you’re back.
3. You’ll enjoy the moment more. Anything you do that makes you feel grounded helps you stay in the moment—which is the key to savoring your time away instead of watching it whir by in a rush of meals and cocktails. You’ll feel more rested and satisfied when it’s time to go home.
4. You can avoid crankiness. As blessed as an escape from routine is, we crave routine for a reason—it tends to keep us in a good place. Totally throwing your morning walks or habit of having a salad for lunch out the window will show up in your mood as well as your gut.
5. Staying healthy keeps you confident. Doing something that helps you feel at home in your body dramatically boosts your ability to feel at home in a swimsuit.
6. Stay primed for big insights. Being in a new environment—especially one that is beautiful or stimulating—can inspire you. And going for a run or sitting and being still is a great way to quiet your mind enough for those inspirations to really sink in. If you don’t do something to get your mind and body on the same page, you could miss insights that are laying in wait.
7. You’ll look better. Ok, I’m putting this way down on the list because I am NOT a fan of doing things like taking a spin class because you hate your thighs. That’s not motivated by love, and if love isn’t your motivation, then it’s fear. And fear is ultimately destructive. But when you take care of yourself, it shows in the light in your eyes, the energy you give off and how you carry yourself. You want to look at pictures of yourself on vacation and see how happy you were.
8. You’ll inspire others. Whether you officially invite someone to go out on a walk with you, or you simply tell someone that you meditated that morning for a few minutes you create an idea bubble in their mind of, “Hey, maybe I could do that too.” Self-care is contagious. (Like this headstand I did on the beach recently that earned a round of applause from people on the neighboring blanket.)
9. Minimize travel-related constipation. There is something about traveling that can really throw your digestion off. But if you’re keeping up with a decent dose of daily movement, hydrating and eating some healthy foods, you’ll go a long way toward keeping your digestive tract in check.
10. Create great memories. Taking a hike with a beautiful view, or doing a headstand while contemplating the waves—these are the kinds of experiences that will stick with you long after you’re home.
11. Experience new things. Challenge yourself to take advantage of different surroundings: Go horseback riding on the beach. Try snorkeling. Get out for an early morning walk. Seek out the perfect meditation rock. Experience things you’d otherwise miss if you kept to the standard routes.