With the Eid al Adha holiday coming up, many are looking forward to enjoying a short break. You’ve researched it, booked it, and you’re excitedly looking forward to your well-deserved holiday – just what the doctor ordered to recharge your batteries and refresh your creativity and motivation.
But before you get in your car or board a plane, I’ve got a few tips that will go a long way in ensuring that you stay fit and well while on vacation and come back refreshed and reinvigorated.
Get good quality sleep.
A break from work gives us time to re-establish healthy habits, such as a good night’s sleep. It’s a great way to get your immune system back on track and improve your mood and concentration.
If you’re crossing time zones, try to adapt your sleep pattern to your destination a few days before you leave to reduce the impact of the time difference – especially if you’re going east. Some easy ways to do this include avoiding caffeine or getting into the sunlight immediately (once you reach your destination) to help you feel awake.
Kick-start a healthy new fitness habit.
Activity is important for fitness as well as supporting your health. Use your holiday to set up healthy habits or continue your virtuous regimen. Walking, yoga, and swimming are three easy (and cost-effective) ways to maintain energy levels and ensure mental well-being.
If you want to get the juices flowing, you may do some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), as running on the spot doesn’t require much space.
And if you are getting on a plane, there are several exercises and stretches you can (and should) do while flying that help keep your blood pumping and your body supple – for example, quad stretches, squats, and neck rolls.
Make smart food choices.
Whether it is a trip back to your home country or some exotic destination, let’s face it, enjoying some great food is high on the priority list. But like they say, “everything in moderation!”
Healthy food and snack options will be available no matter where you are. Find out what these are and opt to eat these when hunger strikes.
You can mitigate illness and discomfort from strange or tainted foods and even the bacteria in water by taking a daily probiotic for a couple of weeks before you go and continuing while away to help stabilize your digestive system.
Do a digital detox.
Many of us feel more stressed when we’re on holiday as we agonize over what might happen back in the office. Try a ‘digital detox.’ Don’t check social media or emails – or only do it once a day.
Practicing basic mindfulness techniques is another great way to help reduce and tackle stress and anxiety. One method that is easy on vacation is ‘tuning in.’ Checking in with your body enables you to take better care of yourself – and it doesn’t take long. Start with your feet. Notice how your toes feel in your shoes. Slowly move your awareness through your body, checking in with each part. Your legs. Your arms. Your torso. Contract and relax your muscles along the way. Become aware of your posture. Gently roll your neck to all sides, and lift your head high.
Observe cultural dos and don’ts.
Doing some research about your destination is all part of the fun of planning a holiday and can reduce the stress of getting used to a new country. And awareness of culture – from language to gender etiquette – can make a holiday run more smoothly.
Staying safe while in an unfamiliar country and getting to know a new culture are important considerations for individuals holidaying overseas.
Your international private medical insurance (iPMI) provider should be able to guide you on the culture and customs in your destination. And if you’re sightseeing and you lose your passport or a natural disaster strikes, find out if you have access to expert safety advice and support through your iPMI provider – so you can travel confidently.
Make sure you have the right medicines and vaccinations
You might have a condition that requires regular tablets or injections or need medication on your person in case of an allergic reaction.
Ensuring you have an adequate supply before you head off on your holidays will give you peace of mind on your trip.
Many countries have lists of medications that aren’t allowed, and it’s important to check that anything you want to take with you is legal. Not only do you want to avoid arrest, but you do not wish to have the medication you need for disease or condition management taken from you.
Depending on the destination you are traveling to, you might need to get vaccinated before travel. Speak with a travel medicine specialist for definitive and personalized advice at least a month before you plan to go.
You can check which, if any, vaccinations are required before you go by using the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers’ website. The site will tell you exactly what you need by inputting your holiday destination, from routine vaccinations to specific jabs such as Hepatitis A and Typhoid.
Invest in. Health insurance is another major consideration when traveling, something many of us take for granted.
Many ex-pats in the UAE and even frequent fliers have iPMI to ensure they can access quality care while living abroad. If you have PMI, you may well be covered for illness in your holiday destination – check your certificate of insurance or ask your benefits or account manager.
However, having travel insurance can be a worthwhile investment as it covers you against any costs or losses incurred on holiday.
While individual policies vary, this can include flight cancellation, loss/damage of luggage, and medical emergencies. This is particularly relevant for those traveling with limited access to quality care and treatment.
While travel insurance covers you for the basics of holiday travel and emergencies, iPMI gives a more comprehensive level of coverage for health care of all types, including, in some cases, emergency evacuation and mental health.
Following these few basic healthy holiday tips will help you focus on immersing yourself in the experience and then getting home healthy, fit, and happy. Your body – and your mind – will thank you for it!