People go on vacation to relax and take a break from their normally busy schedules. But have you experienced coming back home from a trip feeling worse or more exhausted than ever? A 2002 Gallup poll revealed that 54 percent of people feel tired after returning from a vacation, while 19 percent felt “exhausted” or “very tired.” (http://www.gallup.com/poll/6400/Need-Vacation-From-Your-Vacation.aspx)
Vacations can increase your stress levels and make you more prone to illness because going to different places exposes you to things that your body isn’t used to, like air, food, and water.
The stress caused by planning and preparation, traffic, airport delays, and jet lag can take its toll on you even before you arrive at your destination. And if you consider a hotel room your “home away from home,” there’s no guarantee that the housekeeping will be on par with or better than your cleaning practices.
Nevertheless, with a little planning and some sensible precautions, vacations can help restore your energy and vitality. Here are Dr. Joseph Mercola’s tips for a restful and safe vacation:
- Choose your destination wisely.
Look for a destination that will help balance out your life. Choose something laidback if you’re the type who’s always on the go. If you’re used to a slow-paced lifestyle, you may need a more active vacation. Natural environments such as the beach or mountains can be particularly revitalizing.
- Plan ahead of time.
You can minimize the stress of planning by ironing out the details one at a time during the days or weeks leading up to your vacation. Make a list of the important things you need to do ahead of time, such as booking a rental car or asking someone to take care of your pets or water your plants. Packing little by little will help you avoid the stress of packing the night before and make it less likely for you to forget something.
- Clean up your hotel room.
Even if you stay in a five-star hotel, don’t expect your room to be 100 percent sanitized. Turn down the top comforter or duvet comforter and pull it toward the foot of your bed. Wipe down the bathroom countertop, door handles/knobs, refrigerator, shower/sink faucets, toilet handle, and TV remote using a damp towel, if possible. If you suffer from extreme allergies, it would be best to bring your own mattress and pillow covers
- Watch what you eat even if you’re on vacation.
Just because you’re taking a break doesn’t mean you have the license to overindulge. Be careful not to stray too far from your normal eating habits. Too much alcohol and junk food will make you feel sluggish — if not outright sick – while on vacation and will have lingering effects when you go back home. You can bring along some food like hard-boiled eggs, sliced vegetables, cherry tomatoes, and raw coconut slices if you’re going on a road trip or have a long wait in the airport.
- Drink a lot of water
It’s important to stay hydrated whether you’re traveling by air, land, or sea. Make sure you have plenty of pure filtered water and avoid caffeinated and sugary beverages.
- Get enough sleep.
Allot enough time for sleep. You’ll enjoy your vacation more if you feel fresh and well rested. Many people go on vacation with a sleep debt and come out of it needing even more shuteye. Resist the temptation to stay up too late and wake up extra early just so you can cram a lot of things to do into your schedule.
- Boost your immune system with probiotics.*
A high-quality probiotic supplement is the one thing that Dr. Mercola never forgets to bring when he travels. Since 80 percent of your immune system lies in your gut, it is a good idea to pack some probiotics for yourself and your family whenever you go on vacation.*