Whether abroad or closer to home, holidays are a great way to get away from your day-to-day routines and responsibilities. Some people get away to rest, whilst others search for adventure, and everyone makes memories along the way. The health effects of holidays are largely positive, but you may also find there are also a few downsides – be it through overindulging in food, sun, or alcohol, or through the havoc it plays on routines when you get home, not to mention the post-holiday blues.
Boosting your physical health after your holiday
1. Meal plan for when you get back from holiday.
“I’m on holiday” is the go-to excuse to overindulge on holiday – and that’s totally your prerogative. However, it can be hard to shake this attitude when you get home and you might find that healthy habits you had in place pre-holiday have gone out the window and are hard to get back.
Try making a meal plan for your first week or two back to help you get back on track. If you can do it before you go and order the shopping to arrive when you’re home then you’ll make it even easier for yourself. But if you’ve no time, or you’re already back, take an hour out to plan your meals for the week ahead and make a shopping list focusing on healthy eating.
2. Make time for exercise.
Were you more or less active on holiday than you usually are at home? Did you swim every day, or go for long walks exploring new places? Or did you rest and relax, moving as little as possible. Whichever side you fall on, being active is important for your health, and whilst resting is also important, it’s all about balance. Make a concerted effort to go back to the classes and activities you were doing before you went away – get that momentum back before you lose it, and remember why you started in the first place.
If you weren’t that active before you went away – think of all the activity you enjoyed whilst on holiday and how you can keep that going. Could you start swimming regularly at your local sports centre, or go for walks exploring places locally you’ve never been?
3. Get your sleep back on track after your holiday.
Without the alarm going off in the morning, many people let their sleep routines go on holiday and when you get home it can be tough to get back into the swing of early nights and early mornings. But sleep is important for your wellbeing, and feeling tired and run down on your first week back at work isn’t going to feel good. Most people go on holiday to make them feel good – remember this and try to avoid undoing that good with poor sleep when you get back.
Adults need, on average, 7-9 hours sleep each night. Figure out what time you need to wake up, and count back 7-9 hours to find out what time to go to bed. You might want to consider setting an alarm to remind you it’s bedtime too.
Those travelling further afield may also have jet lag to contend with. Be pro-active about jet lag – whilst it usually improves after a few days, you can help combat the effects by:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Getting lots of rest before your flight
- Set alarms to help you wake up on time when you’re home
- Avoid sleeping during the day
- Get outside during the daytime to get some natural light
The health effects of holidays are largely positive, but you may also find there are also a few downsides.
Boosting your mental health after your holiday
4. Make a plan to beat the post-holiday blues.
With your holiday and all the excitement behind you, it can leave you feeling a little deflated. It’s nice to have something to look forward to after all, to break up the monotony of daily life. You can help combat these post-holiday blues by planning something else to look forward to in the not too distant future.
Funds are often running low after holidays, so it doesn’t need to be something big – it could be as simple as lunch with friends, or bowling with your family. Having something else in the diary to look forward to will help you maintain a positive mindset, looking forward rather than back.
5. Practice gratitude.
Practicing gratitude is a powerful way to train your mind to appreciate what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have. Any amount of wishing won’t bring your holiday back, but instead of longing for the past, try practicing gratitude for the experiences you had while you were there.
You can also practice gratitude for what you have at home and focus your attention on the good things – having a roof over your head, good friends, or even something as simple as a beautiful sky or the smell of good food. Take a minute or so every day to notice something else you’re grateful for.