For many, traveling during the holidays is as sure as Rudolph leading Santa’s sleigh on Christmas eve. The desire to be with family, many of whom live in another city, another state or even another country, creates a pull like no other. Deciding to travel during the holiday is one thing. Implementing your plan and managing expectations is another. Both can cause stress levels to rise. Regardless of your method or length of travel, the following tips can help reduce the effects of the physical and emotional stress that is a natural part of the holiday season.
- Allow time to prepare: Start your packing early and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Roads may be slippery, traffic heavy and airports crowded. This is just the start of your holiday cheer. Calmly navigating this part of your trip will help keep your blood pressure in check and the stress hormone, cortisol, in a healthful range. An added benefit is that you can use the extra time to appreciate the sights along the way.
- Stay well hydrated: It’s easy to get behind on fluid when traveling because of airline restrictions and limited choices while on the road. Stay up on your hydration well in advance of your actual travel days. Water, herbal tea, fresh juice and mineral broth provide valuable nourishment to cells, tissues, organs and muscles…necessary for optimal digestion, physical and mental performance, and temperature control. If you do get behind, be sure to rehydrate when you reach your destination and especially before consuming your adult beverage of choice with the ones you love.
- Pack snacks: Hungry travelers can turn into cranky travelers. Choose protein and high-fiber foods such as nuts, dried fruit, cheese, vegetable sticks and hard-boiled eggs to hold you until your next nourishing meal. Real, whole food snacks will give you the energy you need to get through delays, will help keep your blood sugar balanced, and will feed your gut flora in ways that support your brain and immune system. For an easy make-ahead snack, try these Spicy Roast Garbanzos.
- Stay true to yourself: Does dairy cause your stomach to gurgle? Does excess sugar make your head explode? Does soy keep you in the bathroom more than is comfortable? Don’t spoil the holiday by giving up on your diligence in managing food sensitivities. Now is not the time to make concessions. You know what your body needs and what it takes to feel your best. Offer to contribute to meals with dishes you know you can eat without repercussions. Focusing on your personal health is one of the best gifts you can give yourself during the holidays.
- Eat your veggies first: Vegetables are superfoods that contain essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. High in fiber and low in calories, vegetables will fill you up without packing on the pounds. They are the best source of the vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health and that the body cannot make on its own. Giving your body the nutrients it needs before being tempted with holiday treats will help you feel more satisfied, give you more energy, and reduce cravings that can lead to over-indulgence.
Make this holiday one you will remember for the nourishing way you treated yourself and the time enjoyed with family and friends.
Do you have a specific question about your health and holiday travel? Contact me by email or at 303-442-2492.
Here’s to your health and vitality!
I believe good health is as close as your kitchen. My nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole food and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. My role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. As a Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® (Candidate), I look forward to helping you create a vibrant life. To learn more, contact me at 303-442-2492 or by email.