Vacations are intended to be relaxing getaways that bring you closer to family and re-energize you to continue to be present and thrive in your daily life. But they are often filled with indulgences and all the things we feel like we shouldn’t be doing. So what can we do to set ourselves up for success? Here’s today’s Q&A!
Q: I’m going on a cruise with my family (husband and 2 kids, ages 7 and 10) and I’m getting overwhelmed thinking about how I’m going to stay on track. I’ve made HUGE strides in my health the last 2 months and am scared I’m going lose it all over this 7d cruise.
A: A 7d cruise sounds AMAZING! But I totally get why you are feeling stressed thinking about how to stay on track during something that usually gets us off track. The main answer is prepare, prepare, prepare. The more you prepare in advance the more likely you will be to succeed in both enjoying your vacation and your wellness. You’ll also be realistic in your approach and feel in control of the situation. The more you prepare the less likely you will be to engage in negative self-talk and belittle yourself for not reaching unrealistic expectations.
So first, you need to do some inward reflection. Take 10 minutes and visualize your perfect vacation. Go somewhere quiet, kid-free, close your eyes and just picture what you want this vacation to look like. Then spend a few minutes journaling what that looked like.
Next, you need to figure out if you over function or under function with stress (to learn more, look up Brene Brown and this topic). Over-functioners take charge, micromanage, and are overbearing during stressful situations. They try to control everything with the fear that if they don’t they fail. Under-functioners do the opposite, sometimes nothing at all. They avoid thinking about the situation, oversleep, disengage, and defer to the over-functioner for everything.
Why does this matter? It will help you see when you’re becoming stressed and help you learn how to deal with an upcoming stressful situation.
If you over function your job for this trip is to:
- delegate tasks to others
- make a loose, realistic plan for the trip and share it with someone else to ensure it is realistic
- look for 3 key areas where you think things might not go as planned. Reflect on how important those things are and how you can give yourself some latitude in the situation. If you prepare for the difficulty in advance you’ll realize it’s OK and be more able to give yourself grace. You might be able to create more realistic expectations in the process as well.
If you under function, your job for this trip is to:
- think about where you might slip-up or be disappointed in yourself
- take on 1 small but tangible task for planning that you’d otherwise allow someone else to do
- create a realistic plan for the areas of your wellness you’re worried might go poorly. How can you be prepare for these situations and set realistic expectations?
Regardless of what you do under stress, vacations often present challenges we all face. How do we stay on track with our healthy lifestyle and prevent falling back into old habits, while also relaxing and enjoying our vacation for what it’s worth. If you over-function the whole time we won’t get the relaxing vacation we crave. If you under-function the whole time we will feel like we’ve failed and may give up on our healthy lifestyle choices (resulting in negative self-talk and beliefs about our abilities).
So what else can you do? Here are a few tips:
- Tell someone else on the trip about your concerns. See if they will partner with you to help hold you accountable and think twice before making decisions
- Make a realistic fitness goal while on the trip. For example, I’ll use my phone to track my steps and walk 10,000 steps a day. Or, I’ll use a free online service to do 30 minutes of exercise 1/2 of the days (fitnessblender.com is a great resource).
- Be real about your diet. It’s not going to be perfect. Remember the 80/20 rule. Each day try to eat well 80% of the time.
- Start your day of right. Doing exercise and eating well every morning will set you up for success
- Choose fitness over convenience. Want to explore the coast? Take a walk or bike ride instead of car ride.
- Eat mindfully. When it comes to food we often eat for comfort or out of habit, not because we are hungry. Going to back to the 80/20 rule, try to choose healthy foods and listen to your body. Need a refresher on intuitive eating? Check out this post – http://bit.ly/32J6KrL
Last but not least is the biggest game changer that I will write more about soon – journal daily. This takes 10 min in the morning and 5 min at night. Everyone has 15 minutes a day. Each morning think about what your goals are for the day, set an intention to come back to during the day if you feel overwhelmed, and name 3 things you’re grateful for. Each night, reflect on how the day went. What went well, what didn’t. How did you feel? What do you want to change for tomorrow?
What do you do to keep yourself on track during vacations? Leave your comments below or send me a message!