Column: “Avoiding The Holiday Hangover”

August 5, 2015

Jacqueline[Opinion column written by Jacqueline Perreault]

It’s summer holiday time and we’re in dire need of some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Often times, however, we come back to work feeling as if we need a vacation from our vacation. An extra drink by the pool, a few less hours of sleep a night, unfamiliar accommodations, and the overall stresses that come with travel, leave us simply exhausted.

Now picture a trip where you return home more alert, truly relaxed and inspired to dive back into your job. You may have clocked a few extra miles, learned a new activity, or got a few more hours of sleep. Regardless, you are refreshed and ready to take on the world. Make this your goal this summer by following the below six tips, whether you are having a staycation, business trip or traveling to an exotic location.

  • Work for your vacation: In the week leading up to your trip add an extra half an hour of physical activity here and there to your normal routine and eat as clean as possible. Burning extra calories ahead of time means you will have some extra credit in the bank for the days you can’t fit in a work out or eat poorly. Knowing that you put in that extra little bit of work before your trip will allow you to relax and indulge guilt-free.
  • Pack your health: Don’t forget your sneakers and pack other small exercise tools such as a travel yoga matt, exercise bands, TRX and foam roller. Download exercise videos and fitness apps [I personally like YogaGlo and Nike Training Club]. Pack your vitamins and bring portable snacks in your bag that you can munch on [protein bars, nuts, meal replacements] so that you are never famished and overeat at mealtime.
  • Research healthy options: Search for health establishments in the location you are visiting, both in terms of exercise facilities and food. Does the hotel you are booking have a gym? Is there a running route or green space nearby? How about a juice bar? Knowing your location in advance will help you stay on track. Try renting an apartment instead of a hotel to gain access to a kitchen so that you can cook your meals [I never go wrong with Airbnb]. Make sure you hit the local supermarket upon arrival and stock up on water and healthy snacks. As a bonus, you will get a great local experience.
  • Stay Active: Be sure to incorporate active activities into your travels. Explore a new city by foot or go hiking to take in fresh air and local scenery. Many hotels offer run groups and have a trainer or local guide leading morning walks and runs. Make sure to check out local fitness studios on Yelp, which is also a great way to experience a new place and people. If you are near a park or beach, take your workout outdoors.
  • Sleep: Getting adequate sleep on the road will make a huge difference in avoiding a vacation hangover. It is often hard to get a restful night’s sleep in a bed that isn’t your own. After you arrive, be sure to spend at least half an hour outside walking around at mid-day to reset your circadian rhythm and minimize jetlag. Try taking a hot shower before bed to relax. There are an abundance of sleep apps you can use for background noise or meditation to get you in a state of restful wellbeing.
  • Be flexible, adaptable and open to adventure: Despite our best attempts to plan our holiday, SH*T always happens when we are on the road. Delayed flights, missed connections, ending up in Grenada vs Granada can quickly take away the fun and up the stress level. Learn how to use this time wisely. Whether it’s the emails you’ve been meaning to write or a new language you wanted to learn, be productive during this downtime to avoid frustration. Take the opportunity to explore an unexpected city if you miss your connection and be open to new adventures, new people and endless healthy pursuits.

I take to the open road, healthy free, the world before me”. - Walt Whitman

- Jacqueline Perreault [pictured] is the Corporate Wellness Director for Colonial Medical Insurance.

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