I value my time off. I’ve never been the type of person to come back from a vacation and take a day off to settle back into a time change, unpack or rest. I use up every last hour of my time off for a trip & return to work right after. This was the case for my 30th birthday trip to China. I returned Sunday night, and was back at work Monday morning. After Puerto Rico, home Monday night and back to work Tuesday morning – and most recently a quick weekend trip to Vegas. Got home Sunday night and back to work Monday morning.
This got me thinking about the things I do to recover quickly. I want to use my time off to its full potential but I also don’t want to be a zombie all week at work.
This is what I do to get back to normal asap.
The first night back:
1. No matter how tired I am, I unpack when I get home. At least the main toiletries and any clothes or items I will need for work the next morning. I don’t want to waste any extra time in my tired morning looking for things I need to get ready for work.
2. I eat hot soup! I used to always get tom kha soup post trip. Most recently it has changed to Korean tofu soup. Something about hot, spicy and flavorful soup that just makes me feel better almost instantly. Lucky for me, no matter how late I get home from a trip there is a 24 hour place that has this soup. It’s the perfect recovery meal and it helps me sleep better – plus I usually have zero groceries in my fridge after a trip, and don’t want to spend any time cooking that night.
3. I shower! No matter how tired I am and just want to get in bed. Showering always helps me feel refreshed and instantly better. It also saves me time getting ready the next morning so I can sleep a little longer.
4. I go to sleep as soon as possible after completing those 3 things – even if I am not tired. If I am dealing with a time change/jet lag trip I take something to help me sleep if needed. I don’t want to be up until 3 or 4 am, and don’t have time to sleep until 2pm the next day. Sleep is huge for me. Usually I am tired enough that I fall asleep right away, but after China I did take a sleeping pill because my body was totally confused.
The next day:
1. I take my regular vitamins right away! I bring vitamins on my trips, but with sightseeing and different scheduling I don’t always take them. After trips it’s easier to get sick so I get back on my vitamin routine immediately & sometimes extra Vitamin C just to be safe.
2. I drink a LOT of water and a lot of hot green tea. More than I usually do, and I already drink a lot. Traveling dehydrates you, and the quicker you rehydrate the quicker you will be back to normal. I drink water with apple cider vinegar 3 times a day as well. I try to do this regularly, but definitely after a trip, because it helps with bloating, and it fights off any sickness that you might otherwise get from your traveling AND it gives you energy.
3. I do a one day juice cleanse. I juice on a regular basis. I have tried long juice cleanses, and I don’t do well after a couple of days. My body gets really cold, and am not able to focus at work, so I have given up on long juice cleanses. However after Puerto Rico, I was so bloated and full from all the amazing mofongo that I decided to do a one day juice cleanse as a quick restart. I didn’t have vegetables or time to juice myself – but my body was craving the juice! Juice specialty places charge around $48 – $100 for a one day cleanse ($8 – $14 for one juice). I didn’t want to spend this much money, especially because at least 2 of those “juices” are usually spicy lemonade – which is mostly water, a little bit of lemon and cayenne. I found a brand at Whole Foods (Evolution). Most of their juices are organic, and they are always on sale – even when they are not they are in the $3- $5 range. I stick to their juices now when I can’t make my own. This way you can pick 6 juices with actual juice & not spend a fortune. This one day juice cleanse helps a lot!
4. I work out! No matter what – this is my day to set my schedule right back on track. I do something active even if I’m exhausted – which after work I always am. Even just a mile run, helps get my routine back in order.
5. I go to a sauna or a spa. I’ve done variations of this – but basically I go somewhere to sweat or sit in a hot tub to get toxins out and/or relax. The sauna feels great after drinking so much water all day. The jacuzzi helps my legs, which are usually swollen from long plane or car rides. If I can’t make it out of the house for either, I take an epsum salt bath at home. I love epsum salt! My muscles feel instantly less sore after using.
5. I sleep early again.
The rest of my week is usually a breeze and I’m able to save up my vacation time for the next adventure.