A holiday should be a time to get away from the daily grind, to escape the stress and unwind the knotted rope that is your neck and back. Relaxation is an essential part of leading a healthy lifestyle. As a nutritionist, I don’t just focus on what people need to eat for optimal health, but also what to do to manage stress. You see, fitness and nutrition isn’t just about exercising and eating a balanced diet and simply getting by. No, it should be about ensuring that you feel AWESOME every day.
First of all, while on holiday, you will likely have access to a fantastic array of regional foods. Don’t be that guy or gal who goes on holiday abroad only to eat a full English or eat at English restaurants. The chances are, if you set aside your bias you will find some lovely fare.
There’s no real hard and fast rules on food to eat to help you to relax, but if you eat a lot of processed foods, with lots of added sugar, you’ll likely be a lot more stressed. Caffeine is a stimulant and heavy consumption of this from coffee and energy drinks is a big reason why many people struggle with sleep and have consistent energy. That doesn’t mean you should avoid coffee, in fact, coffee abroad is often much better than what we drink at home, so it’s there to be enjoyed. Have a coffee with your breakfast and follow your lunch with an espresso, but try to not to have any with your evening meal. Yep, that post dinner s is 100% not going to help with a relaxed and refreshing holiday nap.
Alcohol is something we consume while on holiday so try not to over indulge. By all means enjoy some local wine or beer, but have a jug of water on your table and sip between glasses to limit the impact on the kidneys. In fact, drink plenty of water through the day, dehydration is a big problem for some people. Remember, alcohol often disrupts sleep, leaves you dehydrated, tired, and unmotivated. So, have one to three, call it a day, and keep yourself fresh to explore the next day.
Be active on your holiday. That doesn’t mean going to the gym but exploring, going for a walk on the beach before breakfast, swim in the sea, or connecting with the natural environment. You likely spend most days stuck indoors under artificial lighting at home, staring at computer screens. So get outside, get moving, observe the world around you and get outside of your head.
Do some research into ‘Blue Zone’ countries. These are the countries that have the lowest rates of stress-related illness. Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, the Greek islands to name a few. Absorb their culture, their pace of life and their foods.
Get up, drink water and go for a walk, inhale some fresh air, maybe do some stretching, anything to set a healthy routine.
Eggs and fresh fruit or real Greek yoghurt with granola and a coffee.
I’ll be out and about, sightseeing or on an excursion, drink water, have an ice lolly.
Some cold cut meats, maybe a sandwich made with fresh local bread, dried tomatoes, olives and more fresh fruit, drink more water.
Might sample a local beer?
Choose a source of protein, a big side salad, a bottle of wine and a jug of water. Watch the sun set and then bed ready for a good night’s sleep. A holiday doesn’t have to leave you a few pounds heavier, tired and unrefreshed. Embrace the local food, move, explore, be active, and come home in the zone to attack life again!