How to enhance your ‘vacation effect’
Most of us have no doubt that a relaxing vacation is a wonderful reward bringing us pleasure and satisfaction, stress relief, recovering from fatigue, clearing our mind, reconnecting to our senses, to the nature etc- the benefits are endless. But guess what, getting away for awhile from our daily routine produces not only a psychological feeling of well being, but also real biological changes in our bodies- this is what is called by some researchers the ‘vacation effect’.
Amongst other things, chronic stress is associated with higher inflammation, shorter telomeres (telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces).By using integrated systems biology approaches, this study shows that holidays, likewise meditation, produces real molecular changes at the body level: there are distinguishable changes in some of the genes expression related to stress-management, inflammation, ageing.
Interestingly, these beneficial effects will not end in the same time with the vacation but will last several weeks/month after, differently for different groups people, depending mostly on their lifestyle (i.e. novice or expert-meditators, diet, exercise, their personalities etc).
Here are few tips to make your positive ‘vacation effect’ last longer:
- START SLOW: you might have millions of new ideas how you will work better, eat better, exercise better and so on. Be kind to yourself and allow you a ‘smooth landing’ to the real world. You will have several months to run at 1000% until your next holiday, so take it easy.
- SELF-PLANNING: before start planning anything else, start with what matters the most: yourself. Its not about being selfish, its about doing and planning your smartest investment: you. Put all in your agenda:
- plans of your next breaks (having a long week-end for 4 days at least every 1 month and half (tips- if you want to join me, with small groups of 10 people, make me a sign here)
- how/when do you plan to exercise
- how/when do you intend to eat better or to try a new diet (i.e. intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet etc)
- how/when you are going to meditate
- how/when will you have a check up and see what is your current baseline (checking your sugar, cholesterol, hormones, vitamins, minerals etc).
- how/when see some specialists if you didn’t yet see them this year, like your dentist, your dermatologist, your gyne etc.
3) BOOSTERS: you are supposed to have a full energy battery, but you could paradoxically be feeling bit tired and/or “having the blues” after your holiday. No worry, it’s normal especially if you’re still jet lagged or if you’re starting frantically working soon as you’ve arrived home.
- for your cellular/mitochondrial energy: a cocktails of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins (ideally, check with your doctor and eventually have some tests)
- for your mood: phytotherapy, sauna, weight-lifting exercise, yoga
- for your sleep: darkness and coldness at night in your bedroom (or wearing an eye mask), lavender essential oil, melatonin.
- zero alcohol during September
- drink enough water (at least 30ml/kg/bodyweight)
- try a low carbs/low calories diet- with your doctor supervision
- fresh walnuts -if you don’t have any thyroid problems
6) CLEAN: if you still have a mess in your Dropbox and/or your Inbox mail (and in many other places, pssst, we’re together in that one), there is time to clean and ‘triage’. If there is one thing where you should put energy during this ‘slow week’, is ‘cleaning’. Really. Whatever this means to you.
I hope you have had wonderful holidays and that you will not wait until Christmas or next summer until you’ll have at least 4days-in-a-row breaks. In additions to your daily and weekly ones.
And remember that life is not measured by the number of breath we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. It works for breaks too :)