July 3, 2022

After over two years of staying at home it’s finally summertime and with few restrictions left everyone, we know is excited about finally heading out on a long overdue holiday. But even though you might be hoping for a week or two of relaxation we know that holidays can often be more stressful than they should be. If you have been trying hard to live a healthy lifestyle, we understand that it can often be daunting worrying you might undo all your hard work in one week. But we are here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way!  

Holiday Preparation

Often the holiday prep is the most stressful part of your summer getaway. I love a to-do list and they really do come into their own when you are planning a holiday, and personally I don’t think you can ever start planning too early. I like to make two lists, one that has everything I need to get done before I go, work bits, house admin, pet planning etc, and the other that lists all the things I need to take with me and in these post-covid days there is often a lot of admin think about. By listing everything and noting when things need to get done, I don’t end up panicking the week before we travel and arriving on my holiday stressed out. I also can’t tell you how good it feels tick stuff off my list! I also try really hard to put too much into my diary the week before I travel, as I know I will enjoy myself more if I am not exhausted, especially when travel these days can be trickier.  

Talking of travel, Jon and I have been lucky enough to have already been away this year and we’ve certainly noticed that the travel aspect can be a bit more unpredictable these days. We’ve been lucky, but we have read about the issues there have been recently at airports and so recommend that you leave way more time than usual for your travel. That way if you stumble across long queues you won’t miss your flight, and if you are lucky enough to sail through security, then there’s even more time to peruse duty free which is always a favourite part of the holiday for me. A throwback to when we used to travel with small kids, but I always pack a few healthy snacks. When we are hungry our blood sugar levels drop and this can trigger our cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline (fight or flight hormone) levels to rise, which in turn can affect our moods, and a bad mood caused by lack of food will only make the stress of travelling worse. So kids or no kids keep a cereal bar or two in your bag and thank me later! It also goes without saying that you should make sure you keep hydrated whilst travelling. I have noticed that most airports have water stations these days, so pack an empty water bottle and fill up when you have gone through security.

Swimming in the pool will boost your holiday mood even further

We’ve been working hard to optimise our age by making small changes that we know will make a big impact on our health. This includes moving more and whilst we love to hit our home gym or go out for a run, we don’t necessarily want to do this when we are on holiday. So, we change our mindset when it comes to exercise on holiday. We try and get some long walks in early in the day before it gets too hot, or we walk into the local town for dinner rather than getting a taxi, and during the day we try and fit in a few laps of the pool, rather than just lying by it. You might not feel like moving too much but remember how movement will improve your mood and we all want to feel good on holiday.  

Making the smarter choice when eating and drinking on holiday!

We also have learnt to take a new approach to food and booze. In the past I would have restricted what I ate before a holiday and then gone all out for a week and come home feeling awful. Now it’s all about making smarter choices rather than restricting myself. And luckily for us all a holiday diet is often a Mediterranean diet and that has been proven time and again to be one of the healthiest options out there. In fact, research (*1) shows that the traditional Mediterranean diet can reduce our risk of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.  So what is a typical Mediterranean diet? It includes lots of fruit and veg, beans, wholegrain pasta, and brown rice, as well as moderate amount of white fish and meat. Bringing these elements together is healthy oils like olive oil and the fats present in nuts, seeds, and oily fish. The most important part of the diet is shunning heavily processed foods. Although we promise that an ice cream (or two) on holiday won’t do any damage. In fact, it’s really important to remember that it’s only one week out of 52 and not to panic too much about indulging, it is treat time after all. But the fact that researchers have found that a Mediterranean diet can actually help you live longer and make you less likely to put on weight are both great reasons to continue to eat this way when you get home!  

And whilst of course holidays are the time to indulge in a bit of local vino, don’t forget to keep your water levels up too. Not only is it really easy to become dehydrated in hot countries but alternating your alcoholic drinks with water means you will be enjoy the day after as much as the night before. As I have said I don’t like to restrict myself on holiday, but instead I try and make smarter choices, so I will enjoy an evening aperitif, but will try and choose a clear spirit and soda, rather than a sugar-laden cocktail.  

If you have to work while on holiday, set designated times.

Finally, our top tip is to try and leave work behind. Whilst it’s said that one in four of us plan to work on holiday, it’s certainly a way to bring the stress with you. If you can try and be organised ahead of your trip so you can properly switch off, I promise you won’t regret it. And for those of us who really have to log on during our breaks, I recommend trying to plan ahead when you will do this. Maybe work for a couple of hours first thing in the morning so you can get it over with and enjoy the rest of your day, or schedule in work calls and emails for lunchtime when it’s really hot and you might appreciate a break from the sun.  

Whatever you do enjoy yourself, you’ve worked hard for this, happy hols!

Jon & Sally x