Waking up to no alarm, days without any real structure and enjoying every indulgence you want is what vacation is all about. It's time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. This time away from your real-life routine to recharge is well worth the lack of consistent exercise and consumption of salads.
When it's over, that post-vacation depression can hit hard. Not only is it back to work and responsibility, but it's back to ice cream-less nights and packed lunches.
But, healthy living shouldn't be another burden. Returning home doesn't have to be boring or induce feelings of dread after a great vacation.
When a lot of people come home from vacation, they go right back into strict rules and hard exercising. It's great if you can do this, but for most, it's nearly impossible and can prevent you from getting back into healthier habits. It might be best to ease into it, still allowing some indulgences and rest as you get back to your routine.
You can make the transition smoother and more pleasant by following the tips below:
1. Plan to make vacation-inspired meals.
Did you have a favorite dessert or meal during vacation? Try to make it once you return home. If you loved the banana split sundae for your nights watching the sunset on the beach, try to recreate it in smoothie form for breakfasts during the week you get back. Or, you can eat is as a treat after dinner as you fight off those sugar cravings.
Used to enjoying a lobster roll each day? Make it at home one night for dinner, or substitute crab or shrimp for a new spin.
If you went somewhere a bit more exotic, try working in flavors and new recipes from the area you visited, like grilled Caribbean jerk chicken over a salad, Spanish tapas or a Mediterranean kabob.
Including some of your favorites from vacation to enjoy once you're home is a great way to help transition back to normal life and relive some great memories.
2. Slowly get back into fitness mode.
It can be difficult to get back into your exercise routine after time away from it, plus you may be feeling a bit sluggish and tired from the indulgences and lack of sleep. If going to the gym for an intense sweat session seems far out of reach, it might be better to start small.
Simply being active will help you ease into your usual routine. It doesn't have to be an organized class or 4-mile run. Walks during your lunch break or after dinner, yoga, a light jog or a bike ride might do the trick.
Exercises that get you outdoors to enjoy to the sun, warmth and fresh air can be a much-needed refresher. After a couple days, you'll most likely be ready to go full force again and pick up where you left off.
3. Curb sugar cravings.
After days of indulging in snacks and sweets, it's hard work to avoid them when you get home. You'll most likely be miserable if you go cold turkey. Rather than completely avoiding any treats or extra snacks, it's best to slowly decrease them or replace them with healthier options.
Consuming carbohydrates with fiber, protein and fats slows their absorption, therefore preventing sugar crashes or worsening sugar cravings. Slow carbohydrates are foods like beans and sweet potatoes.
Fruit can be a good choice as well when you're craving something sweet, and it helps in avoiding treats like cookies, brownies and ice cream. The trick is to slowly decrease extra snacking and sweets until you're back to your normal routine.
4. Find healthy living inspiration.
Motivation to get back to healthy living dips after being in vacation mode for days at a time. A helpful trick is to simply look at healthy living inspiration. Find some new Instagram accounts, Pinterest boards or smoothie recipes to look through that make fitness and healthy eating look fun and delicious.
The truth is, you can channel exciting, fun and inspired vacation vibes into your healthy routine, and looking at how others do this can spark your own creativity. You'll be excited to get back into your healthy routine and inspired to mix it up by trying new recipes and workouts.
The end of vacation doesn't have to signal the dread of going back to a boring routine. Consider them a time to fully treat and indulge yourself as a reward for the hard work you put in throughout the year, and to spark creativity and inspiration to mix up your healthy habits for when you return home.
Once you adopt healthy living, it doesn't have to be the same each day for life. The fun comes from the freedom to switch things up and find new ways to be healthy and enjoy life. It may take a little time to get back to healthier habits following vacation, but that vacation might have been just what you needed to inject some new life into your daily routine.
Is your healthy routine feeling a bit boring? I'm sharing a free resource to help spark creativity in your kitchen this summer, and to plan and create easy and healthy meals that are satisfying and delicious. Get yours here.