Vacations are very important to our health. It’s a time-out from our regular life and an opportunity to recharge ourselves. Yes, family vacations can get hectic but with some planning you can have a health-centered vacation. We just came back from a family vacation to the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinsburg, TN. I’m sharing some of my favorite photos from the trip along with the 5 tips to have a health-centered family vacation. Set a goal to plan a vacation that includes at least 3 of these tips.
Tip #1: Comfortable accommodations
Your accommodations are you home base on vacation. It is the place where you’ll enjoy at-home meals, relax after a day of exploring and sight-seeing, and enjoy restorative sleep at night. Select a location that is close to the activities you want to do and is comfortable to be in and sleep in.
Tip #2: Spend time with your favorite people
Having good, close relationships in your life is key to having good health. These strong social connections establish a sense of belonging and effect our behavior (think enjoying a healthy meal together) and also how our immune system responds to challenges. Spend time on vacation with good friends, family, and loved ones.
Tip #3 : Spend time in nature
Spending time in nature is a prescription for your health to reduce stress, get grounded, and become present in our lives, and doesn’t have any side effects. The busy-ness of your life will melt away when you feel sand under your feet, smell fresh air from a forest, see waves crash against the rocks.
Tip #4 : Get active
Seeing, doing, and learning new things is a great way to get active and moving on vacation. Plan your activities ahead of time so you don’t have to worry what what to do when you are already there, and you can relax and enjoy yourself. For kids, I would highly recommend the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program. This is a program at every National Park for kids to learn more about the park through fun activities like scavenger hunts and bingo. If the kids are able to complete all the activities, they take the oath of a junior ranger given by an actual park ranger. It’s super cute and my kids fall a little bit more in love with nature each time they do this program.
Tip #5 : Enjoy some meals at home
Enjoying meals in your comfortable accommodation is a great way to relax and eat healthy. If you have a kitchen, you can buy groceries for a picnic lunch or simple dinners like pasta or hot dogs and broccoli. If you don’t have a kitchen, you can order sushi and bring it home to eat or head to a grocery store like Whole Foods where you can make a meal from the salad or hot food bar. With or without a kitchen, I always like to eat breakfast at home. It’s a much more relaxing to feed hungry children scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurt, or protein bars at home then getting ready quickly in the morning and rushing to a place to eat.
Good luck vacation planning,