Stopping to smell the roses, sizing down meal portions and more. Read on to know my new-found perspective on wellness.
There are only a few things that can be as restorative as traveling. After many months of the pandemic, the borders began to open up, and slowly but steadily we all inched towards normalcy. Many studies have highlighted the link between travel and wellbeing. In the wake of a long quarantine, the world needed to move around, and finally, we had the opportunity to travel again.
For one of my first post-pandemic holidays, I went to Spain, a beautiful country full of music and sunshine. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that every second of this trip filled me with awe and gratitude. It gave me some pearls of quiet wisdom about health and I’m very excited to share them with you.
Here are four takeaways from my post-pandemic holiday:
- Get some “awe” time: What I mean is take every moment in. Appreciate the smells, sights and everything in between. Living life to the fullest means being in awe of the little things. You don’t have to board a flight to an exotic location to be in awe of life’s small gifts. You just have to seek beauty in day-to-day things, such as a nice cup of Chai Latte or the crispness of fresh sheets. An analysis of six studies shows that “the experience of awe is associated with reduced daily stress” and “leads to elevated life satisfaction”. This trip prompted me to look at the world with a fresh curiosity and this small change in perspective made a big difference to my mental health.
- Size down: The saying "less is more” holds true for many things, one amongst which is food portions. In Spain, my friend Priti and I could not help but notice how serving sizes were smaller in comparison to back home in America. Surprisingly, everything from our cappuccinos, appetizers to desserts was half the size of an American serving. It made all of our meals and coffee breaks more enjoyable. Having small servings tricks your brain into thinking that you have had enough. This not only stops you from overeating but makes you relish every sip and every bite.
- Fiber is all around us: For many people going on a holiday means having an excuse to eat unhealthily. However, on this trip, I realized how easy it is to eat healthy, even on vacation. The hospitality industry has evolved to accommodate various diets and has customizable menus everywhere. During all of my meals in Spain, my requests of adding more vegetables and substituting some ingredients with healthier alternatives were readily accommodated. You just have to ask nicely and then leave a good tip. One should try local cuisines that are made of fresh produce, which is natively grown and is hence, healthier. You can also check out the menu of the restaurant or food joint before going there as it will give you some idea about what kind of food to expect.
- Give yourself fasting freedom: If you can fit your fasting routine into your holiday itinerary then that's great, but being on vacation means allowing yourself a few breaks. On this trip, I did not fast every day but I still managed to fast for 12 hours on most days. I did that by stopping any food intake after dinner and keeping a gap of at least 12 hours after my last meal. It was an easy and achievable task even in a country like Spain where people eat very late dinners. On days when you feel like you have overindulged and you don't have time to fit in a workout, try my SCIENCE-BACKED 8-minute workout. This workout does not need any equipment and requires less than 10 minutes to give you the much needed boost of exercise-induced endorphins.
I missed my kids and husband but vacating with my dear friend Priti, who has similar taste and sensibilities, was highly comforting and I am ready to be back at work.
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