I want to tell you something somewhat controversial. Vacation is not necessarily self-care. It can be. Vacation can also be an exercise in how much you can cram into 24 hours. Or a test of your patience and physical endurance if you are the parent of small children. More often than not, vacation can lead to burnout which makes you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation.
For that reason, I am a firm believer in bringing a few of my favorite self-care practices with me on vacation so that I feel really grounded and healthy throughout.
These are the 5 self-care practices I bring on vacation:
Daily Dry Brush and Full Body Self-Massage
These 2 practices are an integral part of my morning routine and skincare.
If you’ve never used a dry brush on your skin, basically it’s a brush with stiff bristles and a long handle. I use it to wake up my body, while also brushing off dead skin. Dry brushing is great for improving circulation and stimulating your nervous system, which makes it a great practice for the morning, when your body and mind are still feeling sluggish with sleep.
I follow up the dry brushing with a full body oil massage. In traditional Ayurveda, this practice involves heated herbal oil, tailored to your dosha. I use herbal oil I make myself but I don’t heat it up in advanced. I just rub it into my skin from my ear lobes and jaw down to my ankles. I avoid my scalp because my hair doesn’t need more oil and my feet so I don’t slip everywhere. Plus, I rub oil into my feet every night before bed…
Meditation sort of gets built up as this big deal thing. I think of meditation as sitting with my eyes closed. Sometimes I sit with my eyes closed and let my mind wander. Other times I sit with my eyes closed and use a specific technique to focus my thoughts. Sometimes I sit for 2 minutes, while other times I sit for 15. No matter where I am I sit each morning and give myself a few moments of pause at the beginning of my day.
I have a simple meditation that is great for beginners. You can find it here.
If I don’t move my body every day I am not a happy person, so every single day I make time for movement. Whether it’s yoga or HIIT or dancing in my kitchen, I move my body every single day. Usually my yoga practices are a bit longer, between 30 and 45 minutes, but some days they are shorter. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how long I move, just that I start my day with movement.
Need a quick practice to get you going? How about 7. I have a Yoga Quickies series that is 7 videos, all less than 6 minutes long, that will get your body moving even when you think you don’t have time. You can get all 7 classes delivered to your inbox for free right here.
It is the easiest thing in the world to forget to hydrate on vacation. I mean let’s face it: it’s also the easiest thing in the world to forget to hydrate when you’re not on vacation.
Thing is, it’s also really easy to prevent this.
Bring your own water bottle everywhere. Bring 2. Have one in the car and one in your bag. Make sure you have lots of water, always.
Dehydration headaches suck and can make vacation, not to mention life, a lot less fun.
I am well aware of how goofy the term “smile file” sounds and yet it’s easily one of the most powerful self-care practices I’ve adopted in the past 2 years.
Here are the basics:
Everyday write down a handful of things that made you smile. It’s super simple and will give you a little perspective on your life.
You don’t have to go into great detail. Just a sentence or a few words to recall the moment that made you smile. Usually they’re fairly mundane. The small stuff you’d otherwise forget.
I keep it all in a file on my phone, but handwriting in a journal you can take with you everywhere works, too.
Fun fact: this self-care practice is one of the practices I teach in more depth in my Self-Care for All Seasons program.
What self-care practices do you bring on vacation?
Let me know in the comments below!