holiday wellness - can I stay on track (ish)?
I’m on holiday in the UK for the next 5 weeks. Whilst I am aware of how incredibly lucky I am to be able to take such an extended break to see family and friends, I won’t deny that the change in routine (or rather no routine) has thrown me a little in terms of my diet and lifestyle. In truth, it has highlighted to me exactly how valuable my wellness routine at home is in keeping me feeling grounded, nourished and healthy and, conversely, how being away from that routine has left me feeling less than tip top. Don’t get me wrong, I am not unwell and I am definitely not complaining, but being away from my yoga mat, my kitchen and my gym routine and staying with family has inevitably forced me to be a bit more flexible and a bit more mindful about finding the right balance despite being away from home.
Food and Drink
Before I set off I knew that I had some “non-negotiables” with respect to my diet that I wanted to stick to. I wanted to continue to avoid meat but I thought I would probably want to eat a little cheese (I haven’t had any yet but am waiting for the perfectly ripe Brie!). I wanted to continue to avoid processed foods and eat as much of a wholefood diet as possible - to eat some form of greens every day, and as much fresh produce as possible. Luckily, my family eats mostly healthily in any event but I won’t deny that I haven’t been able to resist a few English “delicacies” like fish and chips and homemade cake and icecream cones a few times. I don’t feel guilty, I savour and enjoy everything fully and then move on. I’ve had a glass of Pimms or wine (or two) pretty much everyday and have enjoyed every sip sitting in the setting sun in the garden. Bliss. I will always appreciate the nourishment of the soul that sitting and chatting and laughing with friends or family with a glass of something cold and bubbly in hand can give. No regrets.
The weather has been absolutely beautiful and as a result there is an amazing array of fruit in the supermarkets – raspberries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, blueberries – and vegetables like rocket, brocollini, greens, peas, broad beans, new potatoes….the list goes on…and I’ve therefore also taken care to nourish myself with plentiful fruits and veg. Along the way I have been taking mental note of how certain food choices make me feel, and I continue to feel at my best when I eat lots of greens, avoid sugar and bread and keep up with my water in-take. I think it’ll be an interesting exercise over the course of the next 5 weeks to see how I feel as time goes on.
Mind and Body
Jetlag is obviously a consideration if you are changing several timezones and it can take a few days to feel normal again. I haven’t found it too difficult this time around except for a couple of nights of waking randomly at 1am and I’ve taken a few daytime naps when I’ve felt very tired. It’s helped that my son has adjusted really well and I put that down to that he slept well on the overnight flight coming here and then, after arriving at midday, we stayed awake until our usual bedtimes so as to get back onto normal routine as soon as possible. I think we’ve been lucky this time – last time we came we had several nights of getting up in the middle of the night to watch Peppa Pig for several hours before finally passing out!
Another thing that I determined I wanted to maintain on this trip was my meditation practice. This has become such an important tool in my life that, if I had to throw everything else out of the window and just keep one thing for my self-care, then meditating every day would be it. I meditate in the evening, after my son has gone to bed, and I look forward to it. It’s a chance to unwind, do some breath work and bring a serene close to my day. I use the calm.com app and I love it. I haven’t missed one yet.
Given the gorgeous weather, we’ve spent a lot of time outside, walking or hanging out, and I continue to try to be as mindful as possible so that I appreciate the beautiful views, the blue sky, the birds singing, the smells and the feel of sun on my face.
One thing that I haven’t quite managed to do yet is to get back to my yoga routine. I just don’t seem to be able to fit it into my day at the moment. I know it will come though and I look forward to getting back to feeling a bit more flexible and strong again.
Although any kind of regular cardio exercise routine isn’t going to happen whilst I’m away, I try to get my heart rate up when I can, whether it’s racing my little boy round the playground, kicking a ball around or taking a brisk walk. My plan is to be as active as possible and I’m looking forward to some hikes and bike rides. I’m flying solo for a few weeks before Mr H arrives in the UK so any activities until then have to take into account a football mad six year old!
In summary, here are my five tips to help you to stay well on holiday:
1. Set some goals – before you leave, envisage what “success” might mean to you in terms of maintaining a wellness routine while you’re away. It may be something as simple as committing to drink 8 glasses of water a day, or meditate for 10 minutes a day or eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, all of the above or more. If you don’t feel right without running 3 miles a day then go for it! Make it achievable and it’s surprising how meeting small expectations can help you to feel more grounded when you are out of your usual routine.
2. Jettison jet-lag – try to get onto your usual bedtime routine as soon as possible. It’ll probably take a few days and, if you have jetlagged kiddos, try to sleep when they do! It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and to try to get out in the sunlight as soon as possible to re-set your body clock.
3. Get outside – take a walk, a hike or a jog in the woods, on the beach, across the fields, in the city. Breathe deeply and look around you mindfully. So nourishing.
4. Be kind to yourself – being away from your routine can feel like a welcome break but can also be quite unsettling. Be kind to yourself and listen to your body – if you need a nap, take one, if you need to do some yoga or stretches to feel normal, do it, and if you need to have a boozy lunch in the sunshine with friends then that’s alright too.
I hope you all have a nourishing Summer!