Caring for your body is a full-time responsibility. When you travel, you put your body through various stresses and you need to prepare yourself, be as healthy as possible on your trip, and then appropriately re-acclimate into your regular life. You went on your vacation to get a break from all of the stresses in your life and you can’t expect yourself to get right back into it the moment you land back home. That’s why it’s important to have a ritual for getting back into your normal routine.
We travel frequently and have developed some rituals to get back into regular life as quickly as possible. Here’s some things I find are important to get back into the swing of things after traveling (whether for business or vacation.)
- Make sure you leave 1-2 days between your return and going back into work. You will need the time to catch up on sleep, unpack, re-organize, and prepare for all of your usual responsibilities. Going back into work the next day and expecting to be at 100% is like slowly walking and then stepping onto a treadmill that’s already going 10mph. You’re not going to be productive at the office and you definitely won’t feel good.
- Go grocery shopping first thing. Depending on the length of your trip, you probably cleaned out your refrigerator. I always make sure not to waste anything! So once you return, the fridge is empty. But you’ve been eating out all throughout your trip and unable to cook for yourself so it’s essential to eat all the meals that week (At least for the next few days) at home, to get your body back into its equilibrium. You can use Mission Lean’s grocery list or add whatever produce you like. You want to eat fresh food now, prepared in healthy, lean ways that you weren’t able to access on your trip.
- Get a full night’s rest. There is nothing more important than a good night’s sleep. Part of the reason why I encourage not going straight to work the next day is that your sleep will probably be compromised from travel or being in a different time zone. Try to re-adjust right back to your usual schedule but don’t be upset if you can’t get back to it exactly. The general rule of thumb is it takes about 1 day per each 1 hour time difference to adjust.
- Get right back into your workout routine. First thing the morning after you arrive back home, get up and get right back into your usual workout whether it’s running or spinning or Mission Lean. If you didn’t work out much on your vacation, the endorphin high is going to feel amazing and you will probably be so rested, you’ll have one of your best workouts ever. Every day that you don’t get back into your usual workout routine, it gets harder and harder to get back to your good habit. Don’t undo all of your hard work so far. Get in the gym, and 10 minutes into your workout you’ll be so thankful that you did.
Jon Pearlman is a former standout tennis player at Harvard, ATP-ranked touring pro, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He founded Mission Lean to share his unique formula for lean body fitness and nutrition, an approach that took over a decade to develop and perfect. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.