A holiday, vacation or break is a fantastic chance to recharge your batteries physically, mentally and emotionally. Whilst lying on a sun lounger all day soaking up the rays, drinking exotic drinks (mostly beer), reading books and taking the occasional dip is great for most of us, many people still want some structure, a little activity, the feeling we’re not going to return home a fat, unfit mess.
Many of us also want to seize the (holi)day. Holiday time is special time and really is of the essence, we need to make the absolute most of it, for ourselves and the people we’re sharing it with. Having your mind drift back home, to work & responsibilities is sure to frustrate yourself but will really grind on your loved ones.
The Holiday Recharge Routine is a set of tasks, ideally performed first thing in the morning, aimed at priming the body and mind for vacation mode. The Routine can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, given your motivation level and time. Your aim is to complete at least 3 of the tasks each day, which ones you choose is your preference.
1. Hydrate with 1 pint of water – During holidays we drink alcohol, coffee, lie in the sun, walk and drop into a perpetual state of dehydration. Beginning the day with fluid will start to reverse this. This should be done first thing, before coffee or any other task.
2. Three Minute Mobility – Okay, 3 minutes of exercise is a minimum, it’s designed not to be at all intimidating. Set the timer and perform 3 minutes. After 3 minutes continue if you’d like. I normally hit 10 minutes comfortably, occasionally more. However, if you’re not feeling it, stop at three, your lower back will thank you immensely for 3 minutes of hip flexor stretches.
I would recommend mobility style exercises; squats, toe touches, press ups, The Sun Salutation (if you know it), a collection of stretches, just get the joints moving and lubricated and the muscles stretched out. If you’d like to throw something more cardio based exercises fill your boots.
I once used this image whilst on an all-inclusive holiday to Crete to learn the Sun Salutation. At first it was incredibly hard but made me feel excellent after. This routine also forms the basis to Hatha Yoga, by practicing alone I can now enjoy a yoga class as I have the basics nailed. The Sun Salutation appears often in my morning routine when at home, most certainly worth the time.
3. Take A Cold Dip – To keep our metabolic rate active we must push the body away from homeostasis (balance). During holidays we often sit at a comfortable temperature not moving outside the physiological norm. An intense workout and certain foods can throw off homeostasis but that would require a time commitment. Instead, a short sharp cold exposure will shock the nervous and cardiovascular system into action. The sudden grasp for air when hit with a cold soak is your body waking the hell up…. quickly!
Not that fun during but a rejuvenating sensation follows, this feeling is something you grow to love. I would recommend a sea swim if available, although the pool works well. You can also use a cold shower. This works particularly well post Three Minute Mobility.
4. Five-Minute Journal – Being present is a term used increasingly by spiritual teachers and essentially means enjoying The Now. Being present requires us to forget the stresses and worries from home, forget To-Do Lists and the constant striving and appreciate where we are and the people we’re with, right now. The Five-Minute Journal has helped and reminded me of this.
Grab some paper or a notebook and write:
I. What you’re grateful for – 3 points
II. What will make today a great day – 3 points
III. Affirmation – I am….
Personally I have a basic notepad journal that I write in most mornings. However there is a swanky Five Minute Journal you can buy click here to check it out.
5. Three Minute Mediate – This follows from the points raised above, making the most of the hear and now. If you’re new to meditation a great place to begin is ‘Take 10’ by Headspace, Andy does a sterling job explaining the in’s and outs of meditation and mindfulness.
If you’re a seasoned pro pick whichever mediation situation you deem fit. Alternatively, if you’d like to practice mindfulness without staying still with your eyes closed, try mindful walking, or just lay down and watch the clouds for a while.
As they say win the morning win the day. This really applies to vacation time. You may even find a routine developed during this time leaks into your daily schedule when at home, this wouldn't be a bad thing at all.