We’ve all been there….you’ve been looking forward to your two weeks of holidays something warm and exotic…you’ve packed the sun tan lotion, the new clothes and more shoes than you would ever possibly need…you land at your desired location and all of a sudden you’re hit with the sickness.
How dare your immune system betray you! Does it not know you’ve been living in 8 degrees celsius for the last 6 months!?
It happens all too often…we’ve been living at break neck speed most of the time and as soon as we start to relax our immune system senses it and all of a sudden we come down with every sniffle, cold and dodgy tummy under the sun.
But fear not…there are some measures you can take to prevent this from happening. These are some things I do when preparing for a break and during a break to make sure I stay well and don’t let that pesky sickness ruin my well deserved break whether it be at home or abroad.
- Stay hydrated. This is so important especially when travelling on a plane. That yucky air conditioning is sure to dehydrate you. Make sure to carry plenty of water with you and keep drinking at all times. If you are susceptible to a little dinner vino make sure to top up the water intake aswell…even better get some sparkling water and stick to a spritzer. If you are travelling somewhere warm make sure to keep drinking as you will be sure to be losing a lot more fluid. Keep a bottle with you at all times to make it easier on yourself.
- Pack a probiotic. Did you know that about 80% of your immune system actually lives in your gut? So a healthy gut is really the key to making sure you ward off any nasties while away. Different foods eaten abroad are all part of the experience of travel and are great for populating more diverse gut bacteria but we want to make sure our digestive system is well equipped to handle them. Taking a probiotic will ensure our digestive tract is pumped full of good bacteria to ward off any of those travel nasties we may pick up. If you are unfortunately enough to pick something up it will also also help you ward it off that little bit quicker.
- Pack snacks. Lets face it airplane food (for the most part) is notoriously bad. If you are just going a short skip and a jump consider packing some snacks with you for the journey. They’ll keep you satisfied and chances are they will be a lot more tasty than the food they will serve up on the plane. If you are feeling a little more organised you can always pack your own meal either. If you are going to opt for the plane food consider lighter options such as fish or chicken or preorder a veggie/vegan meal. They are in my experience a better bet.
- Try to exercise. It can be tempting to take the week off but research suggests that exercise is very effective in strengthening the immune system. This is still a holiday though so make exercise fun. Find a yoga class on the beach, take a bike and explore tourist attractions or just take a hike to a local sightseeing spot.
- Resist the urge. It can be tempting to splurge on holidays but overeating and not exercising is really not going to make you feel better. By all means enjoy your holiday and all the diverse food that goes all with it but try not to overeat. My best tip for doing this is to try out all the different foods you can only experience while abroad and skip the things that you can commonly get at home. That way you get the best food and holiday experience while skipping the bread basket.
- For the most part concentrate on protein and fat. This can be really useful if you are planning a week of sun lounging (no judgement here… I love a good sun lounge). If you are going to be pretty sedentary for the holiday concentrate on good quality protein and fat as you won’t really require too many carbohydrates for energy. I’m not saying limit carbohydrates by any stretch but just consider how much you will really require.
- Take a minute to eat mindfully. It can be really hard to take a minute to enjoy and savour the idea of eating your food at home as we are so often forced to eat really quickly and without really thinking about what we are eating. Take the time to really savour the thoughts of eating your food. The simple act of thinking about eating food will get your digestive enzymes working and will help you digest your food more effectively thus avoiding any holiday indigestion.
- Start the day off right. Oh how I love a breakfast buffet…Seriously it’s embarrassing I’m like a kid at Christmas. When I hit the breakfast buffet its like a military mission…but what I do is plan what I want to eat for the week for the most part. I’ll suss it out for the week and make sure I get to enjoy a little bit of what I fancy everyday and don’t miss out on anything that I want to enjoy. Ensuring you have good quality protein and fat in your breakfast everyday is really key to keeping those sugar cravings at bay for the day so an omelette with lots of veggies and a fruit salad is a perfect start to the day.
- Pack some rehydration salts. If you are unlucky enough to pick up a tummy bug try and drink as much water as possible along with some rehydration salts. These will help to rehydrate you which is really important especially if you are somewhere warm. If you’re lucky enough to be somewhere seriously exotic try get a freshly cut coconut straight from a tree.
- Relax and don’t stress too much. Our cortisol levels unfortunately can be through the roof as we live busy stressful lives so take the time to relax and enjoy yourself. Lots of good healthy food (along with some treats), rest and relaxation and a little bit of movement are sure to keep you feeling great and recharged and ready to take on life when you get back.
I hope you enjoy these tips and that they might help you. I’d love to know how you keep yourself healthy while you are away??