Getting up early, a healthy breakfast and an hour of sport in the evening - going great with the routines. And as automatically as that works by now, despite the stress of everyday life, a trip won't throw everything over again. Will it? I always thought so. Whether I just went away for the weekend or spent a whole year abroad. And each time, I've been proven wrong. Until one day I realized that it not only makes life much easier to continue your own healthy routines while traveling - it's also much more fun.
What is a "healthy routine"?
What good routines are - whether on the road or at home - everyone probably has a different idea about that. Basically, it means that you give your everyday life a structure and do not live the day without a plan. Because, as nice as this may sound at first - it is neither good for our body nor our psyche and has little to do with relaxing travel. After all, there was a reason why you established certain behaviours and overcame yourself in spite of initial difficulties until they became second nature to you and became routine.
In general, it's better to start the day by taking the time to do the things that are good for you than to scroll quickly through your IG after half an hour of snoozing and then rush off. Routine means to practice good habits so automatically that you don't even have to think about them anymore.
Whether it is a balanced breakfast, the daily hour of sport or the morning meditation - if you know that something is good for you, there is no reason to go without it just because you are not at home. Here are a few examples of healthy routines that you can easily implement anywhere.
1. Get up early
Of course, this doesn't help as much if you go to bed in the middle of the night and sleep less. However, I know people who have no problem sleeping ten or more hours when traveling (or on weekends). This is about as healthy for our bodies as sleeping less than three hours. After seven or eight hours of sleep, everyone should be fit again - which means that you don't have to go to bed at ten every night.
2. Drink a lot
And that in non-alcoholic form at best. You will be surprised how much better you will feel if you drink water regularly throughout the day. Headaches, sleeping problems, dry skin or general listlessness are signs that you have not drunk enough during the day. One of the easiest routines is to always have a water bottle with you, which you can fill up anywhere.
This point should not be difficult for you when you are on the road - but often it is. But even if you have only planned a beach holiday and not an active one, there are countless possibilities to reach at least the famous 10,000 steps a day.
- explore your surroundings on foot or by bike instead of taking a taxi every time.
- try a new sport. No matter if kitesurfing or Acro Yoga. Now is the best opportunity.
- hiking, swimming - I bet you do that more often on the road than at home
The typical recommendations such as stairs instead of elevator, can of course be implemented just as well while traveling. Read here how to stay in shape while traveling and keep up with your sports routine .
All-inclusive hotels are, in my opinion, generally a bad choice. Especially when it comes to your diet. Most buffets in hotels and restaurants do not contribute to a balanced diet and don't even taste very good. Isn't it much more fun to try new, small restaurants and cafés on the road or taste typical street food and fruit from the market? This doesn't always have to be healthy, but it's in your hands and you can eat exactly what you feel like. Nuts and fruit are always available for in-between times and you can find both everywhere.
Alternatively, you can buy your own groceries in the supermarket and prepare healthy snacks for the day in your accommodation. Why you usually automatically eat healthier if you are traveling vegan, you can read here.
The best time to meditate is right after getting up in the morning. Just do it before you can even think about it and the first reasons why you don't have time for it today come to mind. Think about three things you are grateful for at that moment and be with yourself for a few minutes before your daily routine begins.
Of course you can also do the whole thing in the evening to end the day positively. I would probably fall asleep, though.
6. Read a book
What at home, despite all good intentions, is often left by the wayside, should not be a problem when traveling. Bus rides, waiting times at the airport or a day at the beach are perfect to finally end the huge book that you have started to read months ago - at least as long as you don't travel with small children yet.
7. Stay productive
It is certainly tempting to switch off everything once a year for a few weeks, not to read a single email and just let yourself drift through the day. If that's your way of relaxing, I'm sure there's nothing to be said against it - but doing nothing stresses me more than it helps me. Just pick out the parts of your work that you really enjoy or work on new projects when you are on the road. If you constantly have the mountain of work in mind, that is waiting for you when you return, you won't be able to relax anyway.
8. Digital Detox
At first glance, it may sound contradictory to stay productive on vacation and at the same time do without smartphone or social media - but it's not. With digital detox, you decide what kind of content you want to consume, what you want to work on and, most importantly, what people you want to communicate with. No e-mails telling you to check xy immediately or constantly watching your pictures or likes on Instagram and Co. You'll be surprised how quickly you can focus on yourself and the important things in your life again.
9. Fresh air
No matter whether you're doing sports or taking your lunch break - perhaps you've now made it a habit to exercise outdoors at least once a day. Keeping this up should be even easier when travelling than in your familiar surroundings.
10. Me time
If you have not yet managed to plan enough time for yourself at home, a trip is the ideal time. Even if you are traveling in pairs or in a group, there is no reason why you shouldn't do something by yourself. If you are traveling alone, you will notice how differently and how much more intense you perceive things around you.
11. Write it down
That's how this blog started. That doesn't mean you have to write a detailed diary entry every night. Most of the time it helps to sort your thoughts if you write down in a few words what is going through your head or if you write down a situation of the day that still sticks.
12. Only the necessary
When I am on the road, that is when I realise how few things I really get by with. A month of backpacking with hand luggage only? No problem at all. This has inspired me to muck out regularly at home and only keep the things in my life that I really need. And that does not only apply to material things. A trip is the perfect time to think about who or what you would really miss in your life and what you can actually do without.
13. Leave your comfort zone
Depending on whether you're on the road for just two weeks or for a whole year, you may decide to do something that scares you, or makes you at least a little uncomfortable, every day or once a week - a parachute jump, a night of couch surfing alone. Sometimes a cold shower in the morning is already enough to defeat a lack of willpower. It is usually much easier to do this on the road than at home.
14. Learn something new every day
Whether it is just a new word in a foreign language or a realization through a conversation with a stranger. When traveling, it is incredibly easy to learn something new every day, as long as you are open to it and actually are aware of things happening around you.
15. Make a plan
Of course it makes sense to think about what you want to do in the next few days. And who doesn't love checking off to-do lists? But it is much more important to set yourself goals that you want to achieve in the long run. Otherwise, you will quickly forget why you are doing what you are doing and where the whole thing should lead. As Paulo Coelho said: "Be careful not to spill the oil on the spoon, but also pay attention to your surroundings."
Reasons for keeping a routine while traveling
I bet your brain already found many reasons why not to maintain a routine when traveling: you have to find your way around first, acclimatize, you do not know the environment, the food and the circumstances. And isn't the purpose of a journey to do everything differently than at home? Here are my reasons why it is much more relaxed to take some things with you from home.
1. You don't have to start from scratch every time
Most resolutions, routines and behaviors take a few weeks to settle in until you start to automatically unwind and maybe even enjoy them. But let's be honest: Especially in the beginning, every little interruption will throw you off track. A weekend where you just want to ignore all good intentions quickly turns into a month and even if you have been home for a long time, you still haven't found your old rhythm. I have managed to convince myself during a whole year spent abroad that as long as I am not at home, it is not really worth establishing routines. After all, I was on the road far too much for that, every day was different. So why even try to have something like a daily routine?
But if you stay in your routine from the first day of your trip, you won't even ask yourself if everything can actually work, now that you are no longer in your familiar environment, if you find the right food or the perfect place to roll out your yoga mat - you just do it. Without even thinking about it. First of all, you save yourself the time to think about whether to take a break from your habits or not and you avoid the exhausting first weeks at home when you have to find your way back to them. After all, our body is quite good at forgetting how good it feels to eat freshly cooked food every day and go for an hour's run after work if you haven't done it for a while. It will only cost you unnecessary time and energy to convince it otherwise.
2. You will feel better
It may feel good at first. Finally partying all night again, no obligations, the daily routine is far away and it is much too warm and too beautiful to even think about anything. But after two days at the latest, the whole thing will probably get boring again and you will find that you somehow have more of everything if you are fit and consciously perceive what is happening around you.
3. Routines reduce stress
Stress - that was the reason why we wanted to leave in the first place, wasn't it? Nevertheless, time change, a strange environment and an unfamiliar situation mean more stress for your body than if you just stayed at home and continued to pursue your obligations. You can avoid this by making it clear to your body that everything is the same, over and over again. By getting up at the same time, doing the same things after getting up and before going to bed as you do at home and by eating and moving in a similar way.
4. You don't need cheat days
The purpose of routines is not to force any behaviour on yourself with which you do not feel comfortable and which you throw over after a short time anyway. Rather, it is about recognizing what you enjoy, what you like to do and what is good for your body at the same time. Then you won't even come up with the idea to take "time out" from your routines.