There are amazing mental benefits from getting out of town for a weekend and treating yourself to a little vacation. I love stepping away from the daily grind to clear my head and re-center. While a getaway can be great mentally, physically, things can tend to go a bit off the rails. A weekend away is generally an excuse to indulge and treat yourself. For most people, it means you can have that second, third, or fourth glass of wine, order appetizers plus dessert, and slack off with exercise if you don’t feel like doing it.
Fresh off a trip to the mountains with my husband, I’m feeling each and every eating decision I made this weekend. Luckily we did some great hikes to stay active, but eating and drinking outside of what I usually do has left me feeling a little cruddy. Whether you’ve overindulged on red wine, had a bit too much dessert, or fell off the exercise wagon, consider these tips to speed recovery after a weekend away.
Get back to a normal schedule
The days following a big weekend are all about getting back on track as quickly as possible. The worst thing you can do mentally is allowing yourself to continue vacation mode. It’s far easier to say, “I’ll get back into my healthy routine next week/month/year” than it is to bite the bullet and accept the weekend away for what it was. Prove to yourself that health is a priority by making good choices after arriving home. Vacations are designed to be a step outside the norm, but humans are creatures of habit, and the more quickly you return to your routine, the better.
Go to bed on time
When you’re out of town, there’s more to see and do. And who really wants to turn in by 9 pm? You might be eating dinner at an 8 pm reservation when you usually eat at six at home. The key is to get back on track by going to bed at your “normal” bedtime. If you’ve been staying up until 11 all weekend, but you normally turn in around 9, it’s going to be challenging to turn in early, but know that’s the best thing for your body.
If you’re fairly regular with your sleep schedule, your body and mind should snap back pretty quickly. (It also helps that you’re probably exhausted from traveling!) But even if you lay awake for a few minutes tossing and turning, recognize that your alarm is going off tomorrow morning whether you like it or not. It’s best to be prepared instead of dragging yourself exhausted through the next day.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
It’s easy to forget to hydrate when you’re out of your routine. At home, I typically have my water bottle with me at all times. But when I’m out exploring the sites in a new place, I often don’t want to lug it around. That means the only time I’m drinking water is at meals. If you can maintain your normal hydration schedule when traveling, more power to you! Otherwise, up your water intake a notch after returning home to make sure your body can detox the way it needs.
Move your body
I’m not recommending you get back into your strength training routine the day after vacation. It can be challenging just to get yourself moving in the morning. Plus, if you’ve been eating poorly for a few days, your energy levels are probably depleted, which may lead to quite a frustrating workout. I enjoy doing a detoxifying yoga practice and going for multiple long walks on the day after vacation. It gets my body moving again but not in an aggressive way.
Fuel with greens and goodness
It can be challenging to find healthy options on the road. If your intake of ultra-processed foods and sweets went up exponentially over the weekend, it’s essential to rejuvenate your body with healing greens and healthy food choices when you get home. If you can manage a trip to the grocery on Sunday evening, that’s great! Otherwise, plan to go to your favorite healthy spot for lunch on Monday and hit the grocery on the way home to stock up on healthy options.
I’m also a fan of doing light fasting after a weekend away. If I’ve eaten more than usual out of town, my stomach is happy for the break. Often when I return after vacation, I’ll plan to eat dinner on Sunday and Monday evening and take a break from food between the two meals.
Disclaimer: Before doing any kind of fasting, consult a physician.
Set fair expectations for work
The last thing you want to do is to head into a weekend away by setting several Monday morning deadlines. When the alarm goes off on Monday morning, you might be a little more tired than usual after a few days of sleeping in late. Productivity at work is likely not going to be as high as it normally is, and that’s okay.
Set reasonable expectations for Monday and Tuesday to make sure your work responsibilities will be met. If you’re in freelance or have a flexible schedule, consider shifting meetings and other client-facing duties later in the week. I have a feeling you’ll be grateful you did.
Be kind to yourself
The Monday and Tuesday after a weekend trip are always hard. It’s challenging to get back to work after enjoying complete and utter freedom. Give yourself a bit of grace. Understand that you might not be in the best mood and that things might feel a bit more difficult. But if you work to get sleep, hydration, exercise, and nutrition back on track, you’ll be feeling back to yourself and ready to hit the ground running mid-week.
Remember that no matter how far off track you might find yourself after a weekend away, there are simple steps to bring you back. Keep your motivation for healthy living high and you’ll be feeling better after a big weekend in no time. Do you have a way to reset after a weekend of indulging? Let me know about it in the comments.