Focus on your wellbeing whilst on holiday
Posted by Mikolaj (20/04/2017)
We go on holidays to relax and escape reality – promising ourselves that a good break is all we need to recharge our batteries. However, in reality, the lack of routine means we end up over-indulging; our body clock slows down and we struggle to wake before midday, we try to cram in too much sight-seeing in an afternoon, happy hour cocktails bring regular morning hangovers and we binge eat food we wouldn’t look at on a normal day.
It’s not a surprise then, that we return home more exhausted than when we left, feeling like we need another holiday to recover from the first one and embarking on an urgent detox plan.
To Tuscany has teamed up with meta-wellbeing expert, Susan Gardner, to offer tips on how to use holidays as an opportunity to press pause on our daily lives and bring ourselves back into balance.
15 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Holiday
Stepping out of your familiar routine is a refreshing and powerful interruption to daily habits. Holidays enable a welcome new perspective and a different environment can be hugely beneficial as it can provide a different focus for your attention. Take advantage of the time you have to listen to your body and mind and to engage in essential relaxation.
1. Every morning when you wake up, allow yourself 10-15 minutes of quiet contemplation, focusing your thoughts on gratitude for everything that is good in your life.
2. Regularly do a quick body scan, identifying areas of tension and concentrating on letting your muscles soften and relax.
3. Give your skin a gentle dry brush before washing and follow a hot shower with a blast of cold water
4. Regularly sip water, preferably filtered.
5. Have hot water with lemon 20 minutes before eating.
6. Eat protein for breakfast.
7. Ensure you fill your plate with a rainbow of coloured food.
8. Try to eat alkaline foods such as cooked tomato, fish, broccoli, spinach, mango and papaya.
9. When you have a moment, write or draw the negative thoughts that are in your head onto paper. Then destroy the paper.
10. Notice and understand your feelings, breathing in calm and out tension.
11. Try to interrupt negative thoughts and focus on what you DO want.
12. Visualise a dial that you can turn down to lower stress levels.
13. Be present and alert to the moment.
14. Consider your personal space and tweak for pleasure and comfort – seeking solitude and stillness if needed.
15. Aim for a minimum of 2 hours exercise a day – cardiovascular and gentle.
Easy Yoga Postures To Practice On Holiday
When you arrive at your holiday destination, have a look round for some suitable location to self-practice yoga; there may be a terrace or garden where you can put down your yoga mat and soak up the scenery. Even just half an hour of yoga every day will help to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Here are twelve easy-to-achieve postures from yoga teacher Megan Jones, that are great for outdoors. When familiar with each pose you can begin to sequence and flow one pose to the next using the breath.
1. Wide legged forward bend
Step the legs 3-4 feet apart, with a flat back exhale and bend forwards, bringing the palms to the floor under the shoulder. Press the head down and lift the hips up. Hold for 10 breaths.
2. Standing Balance
With your feet together and hands to hips. Raise the right knee to balance; 90-degree angle. Practice sending your gaze to follow whilst extending your right arm behind you. To challenge explore straightening your right leg. Hold each side for 6 deep breaths
3. Warrior Balance
With feet together, extend your arms straight over the head, palms facing inwards. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips whilst sweeping the right leg straight behind you coming in to a standing T shape. Hold each side for 6 deep breaths
4. Low lunge or Lizard
In a lunge position with your right knee forward firstly, slowly and carefully release the back left knee to the mat. Raise your hands above your head and hold on each side for 8-10 deep breaths
5. Downward Facing Dog (inversion)
From all fours lift your hips up and back to bring your body into an inward V shape. Spread the fingers wide and press hands to the mat, encouraging heels down increasing the stretch to the hamstrings. Relax your neck, tummy and chest toward the thighs. Work on pushing the heels closer to the mat. Hold for 10 deep breaths
6. Cat Cow Pose
In an all fours position place your wrists directly under the shoulders and your knees directly under the hips. Press into the fingers and tops of the feet. On the in breath gaze up, release the tummy and lift the hips whilst keeping knees, hands and feet to floor. On the outbreath contract the tummy inwards and up to round the back and gaze toward the navel. Hold for 10 full breaths
7. Seated Forward Fold
Sitting on your mat extended both legs forward, with the feet together flexed. Lift arms above the head on the inhale draw the navel back toward the spine, on the exhale hinge at the hips maintain length reaching toward the toes, Hold and relax the nose towards the knees. If uncomfortable try bending the knees and lessening the reach. Hold for 6 deep breaths
8. Bridge Pose (reclined)
Come down to lying on your back bring the feet to the mat, knees over the ankles at hip distance apart. Begin to lift the hips, draw the shoulders under the body as well as the hands and arms, interlace the hands squeeze keeping the arms straight and chin to chest. Engage and hold for 10 deep breaths.
9. Standing Forward Fold
With your feet together or apart, allow your body to fall forward with your fingers interlaced and anchored over your head. Press into the toes, activate the core, lift the hips high and soften the knees. Hold for 10 breaths.
10. Lord of the Fishes
From seated forward fold cross the right foot over the left thigh placing the sole to the outside of the left leg, if able also bend the left knee to bring the heel to right hip side. On an inhale; lift and twist the torso to the left bringing the right elbow to inner thigh. Look to the left and sweep the left hand behind the body. Remain lifted from the crown, soft In the back hand, resting the shoulders away from the ears. Hold each side for 5 deep breaths.
11. Reclined Butterfly
With back flush to mat, chin to chest resting the back of the head fully, arms by sides, palms facing up. Bring the soles of the feet together comfortably and allow the knees to fall apart, the hips to rest. For further support use blankets or blocks under the knees. Rest and restore for the day ahead of you. A restorative Savasana (relaxation) close the eyes, drift away, calming sounds, soothing vibes. Maintain stillness with a relaxed breath for 7-10 minutes. If required extend legs straight.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, turn you right foot out 90 degrees and pivot your left foot inwards at a 45 degree angle. Align your front heel with the arch of your back foot. Press your weight through your left heel then exhale as you bend your right knee over your right ankle. Life your arms so they are parallel to the floor. Hold each side for 5 breaths.