I know what you’re thinking, vacations are for relaxing. Why would I need to calm down? Because vacations are actually incredibly stressful. For about ten thousand different reasons. They start off as a great idea and generally by the time we’re halfway through, we just want to go home and relax. I’m sure you’ve felt the “I need a vacation after my vacation” or heard of it.
Um, that’s not good.
We go on vacation to take some time to relax, enjoy ourselves, and recharge our batteries. We don’t go on vacation to check it off a list or because we think it’s the right thing to do.
So here’s how we learn how to stay calm on our vacation.
First things first, don’t abandon your favorite habits because you’re on vacation somewhere. That is a surefire way to feel terrible. If you like french press coffee, bring a french press. If you like tea to relax in the afternoon, don’t skip it for an event. If you practice yoga daily, don’t forego it because you don’t think it’ll fit or it’s not proper. If you like green smoothies every day, have them. The biggest thing is that just because you are traveling, that doesn’t mean you can’t do the things that you would normally do at your own home that make you happy. I wrote about this yesterday, but if you like to run, run. Just take the pressure off. We all have little things in our lives that we genuinely enjoy and have made an integral part of our routine. Please, please, please don’t throw that to the wind just because you’re out of town.
Instead, find a way you can incorporate those things into your trip. If you don’t have time to drink tea in the afternoon, or go for a quick run, that leads us to our second problem.
Don’t over schedule your itinerary.
You won’t feel good if you do ten things in a day. Give yourself permission to enjoy lighter days with more time in between events. I’m someone who needs lots of alone time so it’s important that I consider that. It’s really important for me to do the things I do at home to stay calm. I need to run, I want to run. I need to do yoga, I want to try out studios with family members. I need to read and write, I’ll write and read in new situations and places.
It’s also fun to leave things to next time. I don’t like thinking I’ll never ever return to somewhere I enjoy so if I go to Disneyland or something, I won’t force myself to try and cram as much as I can in.
Instead, I’ll just see some of the stuff and enjoy being calm, recharging, and feeling happy. That being said, some people really like to go, go, go. I’m just not one of them and maybe you aren’t either. It’s okay to not go crazy on vacation. I know there’s so much to see and try. You’ll just have to go back!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
We don’t want to pee. I’m going to just come out and say that. I know that most of us don’t want to have to figure out how to climb over the aisle person or walk to a sketchy bathroom we’ve never been in. But we have to hydrate. This goes along with the whole “throw out our healthy lifestyle” deal when you’re on vacation.
Yes, enjoy yourself! Eat and drink what you would like. But don’t neglect yourself. Still stay on type of hydration and movement. Especially on long trips where you’re sitting. Even if you don’t feel like it, drink a lot of water. Your body will need it. Stretch whenever you can even if you get a crazy look or two. Your body will appreciate it and you’ll be less likely to suffer from a blood clot.
Yoga is particularly good for this. While on a plane, we can easily do seated cat/cow, leg stretches, ankle circles, twists, and arm stretches.
There are even less obvious ones, like stretching the head from side to side up and down for a few seconds. Rotating the wrists. I’m a huge fan of rubbing out my hands, wrists, and neck.
Whether you’re traveling or already at your destination, remember to meditate. If you already have a practice, do your thing. But if you don’t, I have some suggestions on how to incorporate some mindfulness and meditation into your very literally journey this time.
Beginning with slow deep breaths, close your eyes and take stock of your body. Are you thirsty? Is your heart rate elevated? Are you hungry? How’s your posture? Is breathing slow difficult, are you stressed? Are your lips chapped?
Tap into the messages your body is sending you that you might not be hearing from the stress of travel or the stress of being in someplace new. Take stock of those things and remember them.
Before you move onto fixing them, settle down for a few minutes. Let those things go. Focus on the breath and just existing in the present moment. Let your thoughts do what they want. Just take a few minutes to recenter yourself.
When you’ve finished, grab a drink of water (even if you think you don’t need one) and carry on. Fix any other needs and focus on good posture and deep breaths.
It’s way too easy to become overwhelmed on a trip. Trust me, I know. So check in with yourself often. Check in with what your body needs and what your mind needs. Don’t throw your happy habits to the wind. Give yourself time to wind down. Hydrate! And remember to breath, stretch, and be mindful of how you’re feeling.
We can easily get overwhelmed and ruin a perfectly great trip by allowing our stress to creep up too high. So watch yourself and help yourself out.