Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail: Enjoying vacation without derailing your hard work

TDB Fitness Newsletter 4/18/2021

In all the chaos of preparing to leave on vacation, it is easy to forget your fitness goals. Here are a few ways you can prepare ahead of time to enjoy your vacation without derailing all your hard work.

Tip of the week:

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

If you’re like us, you desperately need a vacation. It’s been a long pandemic, and now that we’re vaccinated we’re ready to do some traveling (however limited based on the CDC’s recommendations). When we travel, we literally take a vacation from everything. We don’t check our email, we don’t respond to non-emergent communication, and we don’t put pressure on ourselves to maintain our regular diet or fitness routine.

Vacations are an opportunity to take all the pressure off from our regular lives. Vacations also warrant a little overindulgence; you’re spending the money and time to be there, you might as well enjoy it fully! However, a lot of the unhealthy choices we make on vacation happen during the actual travel days. Therefore if you plan well ahead of time, you can ensure a relaxing vacation without undoing all of the work you’ve already done towards your goals getting there and back. Here are a few planning tips to get you started:

  • Pack your own food. Whether you are flying or driving, you have the ability to bring your own food with you. Bringing your own food gives you control over what you eat. Packing healthy snacks and sammies ahead of time can ensure you avoid those enticing fast food options.
  • Drink water! You should never take a vacation from staying hydrated. Unfortunately, when we leave our regular routine, we sometimes forget about those healthy habits we’ve built into it. Bring an empty, refillable water bottle with you to the airport, then fill it once you get through security. Having your home water bottle with you on vacation will help trigger your memory to stay hydrated.
  • Pack comfortable shoes. I rarely pack for vacation as if I will work out while I am there because I rarely end up working out. However, I always make space in my suitcase for comfortable walking shoes and clothes. Walking is a beneficial form of moderate cardio that can keep us active on our rest days. It also happens to be a wonderful way to sight-see on vacation. You don’t have to do a killer workout, but stay moving on vacation and it will be easier to adjust back into your routine when you get home.
The contents of Vinnie's "personal item" for the plane from left to right: headphones + portable charger, vitamins/medication, healthy snacks, empty water bottle, and comfortable walking shoes. In front: his loop bands/most portable workout gear in case we feel enthusiastic about working out.
The contents of Vinnie’s “personal item” for the plane from left to right: headphones + portable charger, vitamins/medication, healthy snacks, empty water bottle, and comfortable walking shoes. In front: his loop bands/most portable workout gear in case we feel particularly motivated while on vacation (he may, I probably won’t)

Food for Thought:

Staying Present on Vacation

Mental health is a contributing factor to our ability to stay present and enjoy or vacations. Regardless of how badly we want it, vacations can be difficult for people who have anxiety. Taking a vacation means consciously choosing to let go of control over everything back home. For many, including me, loss of control is a source of intense anxiety. Furthermore, taking a break from responsibilities at work and home can be difficult when others rely on you, especially with anxiety. If this sounds familiar to you, here are a few tips for managing your anxiety so you can actually enjoy your vacation:

Plan ahead of time for the worst-case-scenario

Make conscious reflection through journalling and/or meditating part of your process for preparing for your trip. Below, I provide an example of how I use my journal to think through, and mentally prepare for, all the possible “worst-case” outcomes for the things that typically give me anxiety while I’m away. First, I flip to a blank page and draw a little chart with three columns and two rows. Then:

I then repeat the process for any of my other anxieties I have about being away. Intentional preparation like this allows me to put aside my worry. Whenever those nagging thoughts pop into my head while I’m on vacation, I refer back to my chart. I literally bring my journal on vacation for this purpose. Rereading my prior reflections and preparations reminds me that I’ve done everything within my control to prevent these scenarios from happening, and can therefore put the worry down and refocus on what’s going on in front of me.

Use reminders to take a REAL break

Leaving work behind is one of the hardest parts of vacation, at least for me. I tend to be somewhat type A about work. Especially now that we are running our own business! The thing about work is, there never seems to really be an end to the to do list. If I wanted to I could work 100% of my life away and never really be done. I used to derive a lot of stress from this knowledge. Reframing my thoughts has allowed me to recognize it can actually be liberating.

Regardless of whether or not I stress about work during vacation, the stress and the work will still be there when I get back. So what purpose does ruining my vacation serve? Yes, I can prepare ahead of time to limit the size of my workload upon returning. But at the end of the day, vacation is disruptive to our ability to fulfill responsibilities. I already made the choice and spent the money to go on vacation knowing this. I might as well enjoy it!

Reminding yourself to stop working takes practice. Believing you deserve a break more than you’re needed at work takes practice. Building the thought patterns to allow yourself grace takes practice. My favorite way to practice new thought patterns is through journalling and creating visual reminders for myself to lean on. So I prepare materials for myself ahead of time.

By “materials” I essentially mean short, positive, truthful statements that communicate the thoughts I want to replace negative thoughts with. Some refer to these as “mantras.” I write my mantras in places that are easy to see or go back to. Sometimes that means post-its on my mirror. Sometimes reminders in my phone. Either way, when I catch myself obsessing about work on vacation, I stop my thoughts and immediately go back to read my mantras. An example of a mantra I might use in this case would be, “Work will be there when I get home, I deserve a real vacation.” This practice helps you build a habit of replacing negative or obsessive thoughts with positive, productive ones. With enough practice, your brain will eventually be able to do this on its own!

I based these two examples on my own experiences with anxiety on vacation. I can’t speak for every kind of vacation-related-anxiety someone may experience. However, I believe that by preparing ourselves ahead of time and staying self aware of our thought habits, we can procure ourselves a relatively anxiety-free vacation. Believe me, you deserve it!

Team Announcements

Team Di Bella on Vacay!

Thursday 4/22 Vinnie and I leave for Florida, returning the 27th. We will celebrate Vinnie’s 32nd birthday (4/23) on the beach! You’ll still be able to find your daily workouts on the Facebook group — we will pre-record them for the days we’re gone. Thanks in advance for your flexibility!

Facebook Page Launch

As of Thursday 3/25, we officially launched our public TDBFit Facebook Page! This page will host our newsletters, and any other free offerings we include in our programming moving forward. Feel free to invite anyone you think would be interested to like our page!

Discount Pricing

If you haven’t checked out our package offerings recently, see them here! We’ve added a discount pricing option for when you pay for 4 weeks of training at a time.

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