The holidays are a-coming, and for many people, that means traveling from one “home” to another. We hope that means there’s a lot you’re looking forward to: seeing old faces, eating seasonal foods, and spending time catching up with the people who mean the most to you.
It’s less likely that you’re anxiously awaiting the opportunity to pick up germs on a plane, train, or automobile or to feel totally drained when life returns to normal. But the reality is that travel can be tough on your system. Enduring hours in cramped quarters to get from point A to point B can mean exposure to germs, and not eating healthily or getting enough sleep can weaken your ability to fight them off.
You can’t expect to stick to your complete at-home routine when you’re elsewhere, but you can take time before you pack your bags to be intentional about how you’ll spend your days away. Creating some guidelines now can help you continue living your best life post-holiday.
01. Keep moving
When you’re not in your own place, it can be challenging to schedule exercise into your day. Free online videos are a great place to start. When I last traveled, I used this short Pilates workout while waiting for a flight. The next thing I knew, the lady next to me was stretching, too! This particular equipment-free routine is designed for use at your desk midday, but it works just as well in a hotel room or at an airport gate.
We don’t typically think of fitness as part of the festivities, but the endorphins from working out can be contagious. Don’t be shy about making fitness part of the quality time you spend with family and friends. If someone you’re visiting goes to a gym, ask if their membership includes free guest passes for a day or a week. Or grab coffee, then take a walk while you sip, rather than sitting in the café.
02. Eat, drink, and be merry!
Many family traditions are built around dishes and treats that we only have this time of year. I wouldn’t want to skip cookies that remind me of my late grandmother or my family’s stuffing (that my husband and I joke is half the reason he married me). But enjoying them doesn’t have to mean overdoing it.
A bit of perspective can go a long way: If you’re tempted to overindulge, consider how you’ll feel the next day if you do. Aim to cultivate an appreciation for which foods make you feel energized and which leave you lethargic. Packing healthy snacks (whole fruit, granola bars high in protein and fiber and low in sugar) for days when you’ll be traveling also makes it simple to give your body the gift of good self-care.
03. Supplement as needed
Preempt any threats to your immune system by adding supplements to your diet or adjusting what you take for the season. Certain probiotics are formulated specifically to boost the immune system and work best when consumed with adequate prebiotics and fiber. Additional support can come from foods rich in antioxidants, like beets, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. You may also want to up your intake of vitamins C and E to stay well. Of course, check with your healthcare provider before you make changes in diet or supplements.
04. Sleep tight
If your family stays up as late as mine does, watching movies and playing games into the wee hours of the morning, it can be tough to be the first to say good night. But there’s simply no substitute for getting enough rest each night. Our bodies need time to recover, rebuild, and be ready for whatever the next day holds. If you do end up losing too much sleep, check out these expert tips to get back on track.
05. Don’t forget your skin!
Colder temperatures outside and dry heat to compensate indoors can do a number on your skin. Proper daily care means drinking enough water during your waking hours. At night, your skin renews and repairs itself (another reason to get to bed at a reasonable hour). Make the most of your shut-eye with a good night cream. Essential to winter skin care, a night cream does double duty in acting as a barrier to prevent moisture from evaporating off your skin and drawing more hydration into your skin.
What else have you found helps you stay balanced in mind, body, and spirit? Some thrive on a hearty breakfast. Others need twenty minutes midday to unwind. Still others need a bit of time to read or a cup of tea before bed. Whatever it is that keeps you centered, keep it as a priority while away for the holidays, and this season truly will be the most wonderful time of your year.