I believe that we’ve all had this experience before: you’re prepping for a big trip and taking care of yourself by eating well leading up to it. Maybe you’re trying to look good for your vacation pictures – and you do! But once you’re finally on that plane all bets are off. You’re eating your toddlers travel snacks, having greasy airport food, and a double scoop of ice cream for dessert because YOLO! And while it’s true that you do, in fact, only live once you’re stomach might not be so happy after a week of non-stop treats. Travel food is not the only issue we run into while on vacation. Our routines change completely and our sleep patterns take a big hit. But there are a few things that we can do to help our bodies adjust and keep ourselves in balance.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
It is easy to become dehydrated while traveling because we are typically out in the sun for longer stretches of time and walking more than we are used to. I recommend drinking 2 liters of water the morning before you board your plane. Yes, you will be popping into the bathroom a lot but your body will thank you for prepping it for a day of travel. Once you’ve boarded your plane do yourself a favor and skip the tiny cans of soda which will only dehydrate you. Instead drink coconut water which is loaded with natural electrolytes and eat potassium rich foods, like bananas, which will ensure long lasting hydration. These items can typically be found in airport terminals. Be sure to monitor your water intake throughout the week, which will aid your body with processing those vacay treats and also will prevent additional bloating.
If you’re unfamiliar with grounding – or “earthing” - it refers to the act of connecting physically to the Earth. Usually this means walking barefoot outside, and depending on where you are spending your vacation this could be grass, dirt or sand. Reports have actually shown that this can eliminate jet lag, or at least substantially reduce your fatigue. Kids are so good at this, it’s no wonder they are so resilient! This is especially beneficial if you are travelling through time zones. Grounding yourself after a long flight basically resets your inner clockwork to “local time” on the ground, and thus helps to reduce the jet lag. If you’re going somewhere tropical this will not be an issue for you, but try to do it as soon as possible upon arriving.
Yoga on the go:
You can practice yoga anywhere, and these poses will go a long way in helping you stay balanced while you’re away. During your flight you are likely to encounter neck and back strain. Try a series of neck rolls, and even throw in a seated version of cat-cow stretch if you’re comfortable with your row mates. Don’t forget to breathe with intention, especially if you have travel or flight anxiety!
Once you have settled into your destination, I recommend trying Legs up the Wall to help minimize swelling that can often accompany plane travel. You can also jot down a few restorative poses to do in the evenings while you’re away as a nightly routine. My go to’s are: child’s pose, forward folds, butterfly pose, reclined spinal twists, bridge pose and everyone’s favorite…Savasana.
If your vacation consists of sitting under a beach umbrella for 5 straight days – good for you! Your mental health will benefit greatly! But you might want to break up that time with an excursion or two to keep your body moving which will aid in your digestion and help you sleep better at night. Most resorts or hotels will have access to local tours, so that you can keep active and learn something new along the way.
My number one must-have oil for traveling is Theives! You need an immunity boosting blend especially while on a plane and around so many people during transit. I put this on the bottoms of our feet before we leave and reapply a few times on our spines during our flight. Peppermint oil always comes with me as well because it is amazing for digestion. My family will try any type of local food and it is not always friendly to our stomachs. Stress can make you nauseous and flying can give you motion sickness; peppermint oil can help with all of those unfortunate issues. And if I were going to pack one more (but let’s be real, I typically travel with an apothecary) it would either be Lavender or Chamomile for promoting relaxation at night before winding down. These are great to add to your nightly yoga sequence. You’ll be sleeping better on vacation than you do in our own bed!
We often say that we “need a vacation from our vacation” because traveling is stressful and we’re trying to pack in as many adventures as possible while we’re exploring a new location. I am a believer that you should listen to your body! If it is telling you that it needs to hit the reset button in order to adjust back into your routine, you should help it out. There are many ways to do this: getting adequate sleep is essential, schedule an extra day at home before heading back to work, and, my personal favorite, book a thai yoga massage to enhance your energy flow! Combine all three of these and you’ll feel like you got a bonus vacation!
written by: Ashleigh Flynn (a fun-loving local mom, lover of vegan food, health advocate, student of nutrition studies and free-lance writer).