Rebecca Oshiro, MS, CN, Arivale Coach
Ah, Spring Break. The unofficial holiday that gives us something to look forward to as the winter weather drags on.
A little getaway from the grind, whether you’re heading to an exotic destination or simply staycationing, can be the perfect opportunity to push forward on your wellness journey – or at the very least to not go completely off the rails!
Here are five areas to focus on to make sure your Spring Break is fun and healthy(ish).
Whether you’re traveling or enjoying time at home, stick to your current eating routines when possible. For example, eat your typical breakfast at the start of the day or keep similar meal times to that of your regular work day. If you’re traveling, pack balanced snacks in your car or carry-on and look ahead at restaurant menus to choose places that work for your needs.
Also, keep hydration at top of mind. This can be more difficult when your normal hydration habits, like having a glass of water at your desk, don’t apply. So be vigilant!
But, remember this is supposed to be a vacation! Treats and foods you wouldn’t normally eat may likely be a part of your diet during Spring Break – and that’s OK! Food is not just for nourishing your body but also for nourishing your soul. Plan ahead for a daily or every-other-day special indulgence, and really savor the food and experience.
No matter where you’re spending Spring Break, there are plenty of ways to keep moving. Get your family and friends involved in a group walk, a body-weight circuit routine, a YouTube exercise video, or a quick dance party. It’s fun, easy, and can spice up your normal routine!
One key to keeping moving on vacation: plan it out ahead of time. Build exercise into your itinerary or choose activities with built-in movement, like mini-golf, walking tours, and hiking (a little incentive to plan that last-minute trip to Disney World – the gold standard for vacations with built-in walking).
If you’re traveling by plane, get up and walk the aisle every hour. If you’re taking the car, make use of gas stations and rest stops to get up and walk around.
Although it’s unclear if you can truly “catch up” on sleep, Spring Break makes for a good time to get in the seven to nine hours of shuteye recommended for optimal health.
No matter where you vacation, aim to maintain your same pre-bed routines/rituals if they help you sleep well at home. If you don’t have a tried and true pre-bed routine, do something relaxing leading up to bedtime. This could look like turning off your devices, reading a calming book, and/or doing a five-minute meditation or progressive muscle relaxation exercise.
To reduce the chance of jet lag when traveling across time zones, begin preparing your body for the change by shifting your bedtime and wakeup time to that of your final destination a few days before your trip1.
The categories already discussed above are all instrumental in supporting your immune system ahead of traveling.
When it comes to the actual travel, which often occurs around large groups of people (like on a crammed airplane, for example) or in a foreign environment, it takes a little effort to reduce your risk of exposure to germs. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face as much as possible. And if you’re flying, choose a window seat to help limit your exposure to germs.
Perhaps above all else, a break in our normal day-to-day existence frees up some time to consider what activities bring us the most joy (and hopefully the least stress). After all, your health isn’t just about eating well and moving more; your happiness plays a critical role in your wellbeing.
While we encourage you to regularly build hobbies, social events, and personal-development endeavors into your life, Spring Break provides an especially good opportunity to insert some actual fun into your week. Check out LivingSocial, Groupon, and Airbnb Experiences for inspiration. How will you make the most of your Spring Break?
- National Sleep Foundation. Sleep Better When Switching Time Zones [Internet]. [cited 2019 Mar 8]. Available from: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-better-when-switching-time-zones