As many of you may know, I have just gotten back from an amazing month-long vacation, from Nicaragua, to Costa Rica, to Maine and Boston! It was such a wonderful and exciting trip for so many reasons but now, as I sit here on my first night back, eating gummy worms and barbecue chips, I realize how hard it is to turn off “vacation mode”.
Leading up to trips, and generally speaking, I am fairly careful with my diet and exercise routine. I avoid most dairy and gluten, work out at least 4 times a week, and drink an absolute “butt-ton” of water. In recent years I have made it a policy to completely disregard my diet while on vacation – my adult wisdom has taught me that life experience and whimsy far exceed create far more happiness than a flat tummy can ever give you – however, this does make it very challenging to do a 180 when I return, especially after weeks and weeks of indulgence. Further, my sleeping habits have been all over the map between 6am bus rides and late-afternoon naps scattered throughout the last few weeks. I always find it so hard to get back into the swing of things, but I feel like I have started a little routine for myself that seems to work for me; hopefully it might help some of you as well!
My first step is to make a point of really enjoying the first day back. I always give myself one “buffer” day to get home, eat whatever treats I may have brought home or catch up for a pastry with some friends, and relax. This also serves as a day of building motivation! I like to wash my exercise gear, look up a few meal-prep or healthy recipes for the week, and book a noon fitness class for the next day. To readjust following a trip, I try to force myself not to nap and to stay awake until midnight in whichever time zone I am trying to adjust to, then allowing myself to sleep in the next morning as long as necessary. A travel expert once told me that this was the best way to beat jetlag, and let me tell you that tip has changed my life!
Day two is the day that really sets everything in motion for me. I like to wake up, do a ten minute meditation (something I admittedly don’t do nearly enough of!) and have a SUPER healthy breakfast with a big glass of water – something that will really put me into a self-righteous, obnoxiously healthy mindset. I will then take a fitness class, come home, shower, make myself a cup of tea and put together my to-do list. For me, the absolute most important thing when trying to get back into a productive groove, the to-do list! Plan out your week right then and there, so that you can have plain, attainable goals fresh in your mind right away. I like to do some meal-prep for the week, unpack/laundry, and then do a face mask (planes are so dehydrating for your skin!), catch up on some emails, watch some Netflix and hit the hay early.
From day 3 on, its just about doing your best to tick off all of the items on your to-do list, and get back into a healthy, comfortable rhythm. Post-vacation blues are a very real thing, and the more little tasks you can tick off in the first week, the more productive and adjusted you will feel. Drink more water than you think is necessary and avoid coffee for the first 48 hours after flying- most of the effects you feel from flying come primarily from dehydration – and guzzle coconut water for more electrolytes if you’re feeling especially sluggish. Most importantly, in the first week back, just be extra kind to yourself and, for heaven’s sake, listen to your body! Travelling, for all of its benefits, does take a toll on your body and mind, so be patient and allow yourself some time to adjust. Most of us, even if we don’t like to admit it, feel like we need a vacation from our vacation by the time we get home, so do everything you can to get the annoying tasks out the way early and set yourself up for success. Vacations are the perfect “reset” button, so take this opportunity to think about your goals, plan for success, and finally make self-love a priority!