Ah…the holidays. That time of the year most -all? – of us look forward to. Our modern life is rife with so many responsibilities we seem to get caught up in a fast-paced never-ending race against the clock. Work, family life, you name it. It´s hard to find a balance in our busy schedule, and that’s exactly why we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of taking some time off. Taking a break can and does help your mental and physical well-being.
Studies have shown that even something as trivial as planning for a holiday can give you a boost in your happiness levels. And why wouldn’t it? People that take time off experience increased life satisfaction, less stress and higher productivity. In other words, it is a win-win situation for you.
However, as good as holidays can be for your wellbeing, they can also trigger feelings of carelessness and an attitude of “everything goes, I’ve earned it”. Sadly, your body doesn´t shut off or forgets during the holidays. I know, you’re thinking: “I´ll just get back on track when I get back”. This will be annoying to hear, but trust me, it unfortunately seldom works out that way. Incidentally, this is as typical as saying “I’ll just do it tomorrow”. Just as with everything in life, the more you do something, the more accustomed you get to it. This applies to bad habits. Of course, this doesn’t mean your holidays need to be as exciting as watching grass grow. It just means you should enjoy yourself, but not go overboard and jeopardize all the hard work you’ve put into yourself.
Seems fair, doesn’t it? How can this be done, then?
Here are a few tips you should consider when taking some time off:
1. Walk: It may sound pointless or futile, but since you are on holiday, walk everywhere. This will keep you from staying still and inactive. The more you move, the more calories you burn. Need to go somewhere pick up something? Groceries? Walk. It will make a considerable difference, but you need to stick with it. Remember, calories in, calories out.
2. Go for a run, preferably in the morning: Running burns more calories than walking, it’s that simple. Likewise, it has been shown you are less prone to coming up with excuses if you start your day off on your feet working out.
3. Eat well but eat smart: Let’s face it. We all have not-so-healthy food cravings occasionally. Understandably, you will want to vent and reward yourself with yummy treats. Enjoy it, you have earned it, but don’t go on a frenzied binge every day. How do you know when to stop? It’s that simple. If you have that gut feeling that you’re going overboard, you probably are. Of course, you are better off counting calories to make sure, but realistically speaking, you’re unlikely to do that during your time off when you should be enjoying yourself.
4. Sleep: Take the time to sleep at least 8 hours every day. Sleep is important, and sometimes our busy schedule gets so intense we don’t manage to clock in at 8 hours, which usually has negative effects on our wellbeing.
5. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself! A holiday well spent leads to an even more productive return to your daily activities. Your time off should be an opportunity to recover and have fun. Moreover, taking a break from exercising is beneficial to your health. Taking two weeks off won’t hurt your gains, so don’t stress too much about it.
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