As the temperature increases, so does our desire to travel someplace far, far away to feel the warmth of the sun and our toes in the sand. Or, for others, the idea of traveling to Europe to experience the rich history and fascinating architecture of ancient cities might be exactly what we had in mind. A good vacation, especially as the pandemic (hopefully!) comes to an end, is just what the doctor ordered. But, vacations often disrupt the flow of our normal routines, causing us to feel anxious, out of place, and perhaps, more stressed than we would have been if we just stayed home amist the chaos of real life. At Arrae, we believe that holistic health is wealth, and that includes taking some time off to indulge in some R&R. Keep reading to learn about the effects of travel on our diet, sleep, and exercise routine, and pick up some tips and tricks to avoid the vacation blues.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, travel is defined as “The active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health”. But, what exactly does this mean? And how can we incorporate this into our daily lives?
“The active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health”
Essentially, wellness is a conscious choice that we make every day. In turn, we choose to be well by engaging in activities that we know will bring us happiness, decrease our stress (hello, crossing items off our to-do list) and bring us closer to ourselves and/or others that share our same interests. Whether this includes going on a walk while listening to a favorite podcast, fixing up and DIY-ing projects throughout the home, or simply cooking a meal and sitting around a table with family and friends, we actively choose to be well. Shifting our mindset to wellness allows us to improve our complete health and guides us further in the direction to achieving more wellness.
Wellness has many pillars, eight to be exact. Travel helps us escape the sometimes mundane, repetitive nature of reality as we tap into our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Sound familiar? That’s because these pillars mirror those of holistic health. Essentially, traveling is an escape for the mind, body, and soul and can do wonders for our overall health.
However, this doesn’t account for long travel days, delayed flights, an unfamiliar diet, sleep cycle interruptions, and culture shock that often accompany traveling. While many of us aren’t posting about these setbacks on social media, they’re all real and valid! We’re giving you the pro tips you need to fully encompass travel as wellness so you can get the most out of your time away from home.
Travel and Diet
We hear you: eating healthily at home is hard enough, so why would we even attempt to do it on vacation?! With the temptation of trying new foods, a lack of a kitchen, unfamiliarity with the local supermarkets, and wanting to try the local delicacies, many of us sacrifice our diets to get the “full experience”. When we’re in a new country, we’ll want to indulge and immerse ourselves fully, sacrificing our green juices and kale salads for whatever we can find that day. Of course, we’d never tell you not to do this. A huge part of travel is the food, and it’s meant to be enjoyed! But after a few days, it’s common to not feel so great. From bloating to constipation to overall just feeling bleh, overeating during traveling can make a great trip into needing to stay in the hotel room for a day. With a little preparation, it’s possible to enjoy any trip without completely getting off track. Remember, weight loss and/or maintenance isn’t the goal here. We’re focused on keeping our bodies feeling good, so we can feel our best on the next sightseeing journey or avoid bloating on the beach.
Research in Advance: Travel often leads to an increase in eating out, so the best way to come prepared is to research the menu in advance. Get a good idea of what you’ll eat so you know what foods will be available to you and so you can get the most out of your meal without having any stomach issues later on. Some strategies include:
- Passing on processed rolls and bread (save some room for dessert!)
- Pack in a side salad or a roasted veggie with your main meal
- Aim to include protein at every meal
Don’t Indulge for Every Meal: It would be impossible to go on vacation without trying new foods, enjoying your meals, and loosening up our eating habits. Where’s the fun in that?! If a restaurant serves a particular dish, go for it. But, for a majority of the time, stick to well-balanced meals: protein, veggies, carbs, and healthy fats. This way, you’ll feel good about having that famous pasta dish and will give your body some greens, too.
Stay Hydrated: Water is still your BFF, even far, far away from home. When we’re traveling, we’re often getting in more movement than normal through walking everywhere or eating foods higher in salt. When it’s hot out, dehydration is so common, and the best way to beat this is to anticipate it. Carry water with you when possible, and drink at least 16 ounces with each meal.
Don’t Forget Fiber: Long flights and unfamiliar foods can leave us feeling…backed up. By including fiber each day, our digestive system will quickly start working on routine, avoiding the dreaded trip to the pharmacy to help get us going. Look for berries, vegetables like leafy greens, and avocado to get in some fiber each day. Make sure to consume water when having fiber in order to prevent further tummy troubles.
Treat Yourself, Intentionally: We love a sweet treat, and vacation is no exception. If anything, trying the desserts around the world is a must! But, this doesn’t mean we have to have one at every meal. It’s helpful to familiarize ourselves with the eating behaviors wherever we are. A good dessert (or a few, we won’t tell) can actually become the highlight of a trip by saving the indulgence for the must-haves. Instead of feeling bloated and on a sugar high, the dessert can be the perfect ending to a wonderful meal or the perfect end to a great trip.
Bloat by Arrae: The feeling of remembering to pack all your wellness supplements is a good one. At Arrae, we anticipated this and created a travel capsule case. Now, your Bloat by Arrae can go wherever you go, decreasing bloat in less than an hour and leaving you feeling ready for your next adventure.
Travel and Sleep
Sleep is key to promoting wellness and leaving us feeling refreshed and rested, ready to take on the next travel destination. For many of us, sleeping while traveling can be difficult, and can lead to it being harder to fully enjoy our trip. From travel fatigue, jet lag, lengthy travel days, and change to our daily routine, sleeping enough and getting the right quality of sleep is important to maximizing our trips. After all, one of the Rs in R&R is “rest”. Continue reading to learn how to conquer sleep in a new environment.
Prevent Travel Fatigue: Travel fatigue is both mental and physical, and can manifest itself in exhaustion, headaches, loss of sleep, and decreased mood; aka, all the things we don’t want on vacation. Having an itinerary can be helpful to combat travel stress, but experts recommend not over-scheduling the first few days of a trip in order to allow for plenty of time for sleep. While this may seem counterintuitive, sleeping will actually let us get the most out of your time away and will improve overall mood.
Jet Lag: Check out our Circadian Rhythm blog post to learn more aboutwhyjet lag happens and why it’s so disruptive to our normal rhythm. Realigning our biological clocks to a new time zone is crucial. Exposure to natural light (like sunshine ASAP in the mornings), taking naps when needed, or meditating before bed can realign our circadian rhythm. Experts recommend staying awake until the normal bedtime in the place we’re in and getting in some type of exercise right upon arriving at our new, temporary home. While this might be hard, our bodies will later thank us for the quick adjustment.
Get Daily Movement In: There’s no need to go all-out with workouts, but getting in a walk or other type of intentional movement throughout the day can help fatigue our bodies at the appropriate time, leading to better quality of sleep.
Calm the Mind, Calm the Body: Vacations are supposed to rid us of all our stress, right? But vacation stress issonormal! Heightened stress is a perfect storm for a bad night’s sleep anywhere, and this applies to travel, too. Utilizing methods like deep breathing and meditation, calming our brain and body will allow us to drift off to a peaceful sleep.
Travel and Alcohol
Let’s face it: for many of us, alcohol is a normal part of travel. From trying new cocktails at the local bar, meeting new people, or sipping a piña colada on the beach, alcohol can be a fun part of being on vacation. But, a hangover will only stop us from getting the most out of our trip.
Space Out Your Drinks: The same rules apply, even far from home. Alternate a glass or two of water between every alcoholic drink. This way, we can find that drinking sweet spot without feeling the after effects the next day.
Plan Activities that Don’t Involve Drinking: It can be tempting to pop into a local bar or restaurant and order a nice, cold drink on a hot day. But, alcohol will only dampen our desire to go and explore some more. Intentionally plan out when you will and will not be drinking. That way, travel will be maximized and drinking will be a part of, but not the whole, thing. Talk about a win-win.
Say “No” to Sugar: “That sugary drink didn’t give me a hangover!” said no one, ever. Sugary drinks, like rum and coke, are much harder for our bodies to process. Stick to clear liquids and wine, avoiding sugar-packed cocktails. Mixers like seltzer or 100% fresh juice are some good go-to’s when traveling.
Now time for our number one travel tip: Don’t stress, just get back on track. There’s a time and a place for healthy eating, and vacation is sometimes just not it! It wouldn’t be a great trip without indulgence; we get that. Giving ourselves grace, without worrying toomuch about eating the “right” foods or exercising enough, will surely make our vacation a trip to remember. Just get back on track when at home, and make as many memories as you possibly can. Bon voyage!
Dellitt, Julia. “How to Stick to Your Diet When Traveling: (6 Tips).”Aaptiv, Aaptiv, 3 Oct. 2019, https://aaptiv.com/magazine/diet-while-traveling.
Global Wellness Institute, 24 Jan. 2022, https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/.
“Travel & Sleep: Potential Sleep Disruptions & Tips.”Sleep Foundation, 15 Mar. 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/travel-and-sleep.
Wherearethosemorgans. “Travel & Wellness: How Do They Impact the Long Term Traveler?”Where Are Those Morgans, 7 Apr. 2022, https://wherearethosemorgans.com/travel-wellness/.