Vacation Anxiety?

Posted: June 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Hey everyone! I want to say thanks for all the welcome back messages. I’m really glad to be back in the blogging world. It really is such a great community. I also want to give one last thanks to all who did a guest post for me. I appreciated it immensely.

So, how is everyone surviving their Tuesdays? I am making it through mine the best I can. For some reason I am exhausted today and it doesn’t help that I have to be cooped up all day. I have no car to drive thanks to Peter’s car going bust and having to give mine up to the hubs. I hate not being able to get out of the house! Don’t worry though. I will be at the gym for a weights + light cardio session venting some of that frustration as you all are reading this. 😉


Today I wanted to discuss something that I thought about a lot during my vacation. Vacations should be a time to relax and enjoy yourself, but sometimes they can cause anxiety. I’ve been there in years past. I would be nervous about the time I would be taking off from workouts, fearful of gaining weight from eating different foods, and anxious over how I looked in my bathing suit. I would let such things affect my trip and limit the fun of the vacation. Luckily in the past year or two I have let such things slide and changed my vacationing ways from stressful to peaceful. How did these changes happen? Through a few changes in how I approached vacation. A different mindset really can change everything...

1. Recognize that the informal activity that happens during vacation is worthy. I may not have visited a gym on my vacations, but I do not doubt that playing with a toddler, going on walks, and climbing 20 flights of stairs at the lighthouse we visited kept me moving.

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If you think about your daily activity on vacation, I expect you would find many ways you are being active. At the beach you may take strolls in the sand; touring a town you will be walking the streets to visit new sights; and even on a family trip you can find yourself playing with kiddo relatives, which is nonstop activity. Even if you aren’t doing your typical 5 mile run or hour Bodypump class, you are still doing something. And it counts! Don’t forget that. Decide to enjoy the new ways you will be moving your body. And if your traditional workouts fit into your trip, that is great. Just be sure not to fret over getting them done.

2. Find balance with food. Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you need to overeat every meal and eat copious amounts of sweets, fried food, and heavy meals. If you’re anything like me, that will just leave you feeling ill. Try to find a balance by choosing foods you really desire and enjoy, then filling in the rest with more nutritious items. For example, on my vacations I generally tend to indulge a bit at dinners with richer items like clam chowders or fried shrimp that I really enjoy. However, at lunches I will opt for fresh fruit + veggies; I will skip any sort of dessert most days; or I will be sure to choose healthier sides like salads, plain potatoes, or veggies. That leaves me feeling good, but also satisfied.

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3. Take care of your health. Yes, we all want to look cute in our sundresses and rock our swimsuits, but health should always be #1. Even on vacation. Don’t try to cram in a long run in sweltering temperatures for the sake of it “helping you look hotter on the beach the next day”. Focus more on taking care of yourself. Be sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate you for your daily activity. Get enough sleep to keep your body functioning optimally.


Keep your skin protected from the sun so you aren’t in agony from sunburn the rest of your trip. Have fun and laugh for mental health.

4. Enjoy the rest and the break from the norm. R&R will likely do your body GOOD. Our bodies need regular breaks from exercise and the routines we put it through. It will give us a chance to recuperate energy stores and leave us more rejuvenated for after the vacation. From personal experience, no vacation has ever left me with loads of weight gain or a loss of fitness. After a week or two back to my normal routine, things had regulated themselves and I was usually better off from the break thanks to extra energy and motivation for my healthy living. Rest may be a four letter word, but not in the negative sense. Live it up! Or I guess I should say, don’t live it up. Chill.

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5. Focus on your surroundings. When you pay attention to the beauty around you, whether in the form of a gorgeous view or the people you are with, it truly shows you how insignificant your worries on the calorie count of the dinner rolls are. There is too much beauty in this world that we allow to pass by us without even noticing because we are too caught up in our own insecurities, troubles, thoughts, lives. Vacation is a time to put those things aside. Take a real look at that sunset or the smile on your friend’s face as she laughs with you over lunch. It is way more rewarding.

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(View from Beach)                                                                 (Shot from Lunch with Julie)

  • Does vacation ever stress you out? Why?
  • How do you try to approach vacation with balance and to enjoy it fully?


25 Comments to “Vacation Anxiety?”
  1. I think vacation stresses me out not for the exercise part (because I totally agree- if you’re constantly moving, it counts!), but for the restaurants.

    I’m cooking for myself the majority of the time. So eating out for two or three meals a day sometimes seems a little overwhelming…

  2. you know, i have NEVER been stressed out by vacation itself…getting back from vacation? yes. packing for vacation? you betcha 😉

    i just see it as a way to get the heck away from our normal routine, and i love it! missed you while you were gone!

  3. homecookedem says:

    You are so wise!! I love this post. I also used to get so much anxiety over going on vacations. I can remember 2 years ago my family and I went to San Juan and instead of being excited before, I was soooooo nervous and kept thinking how I would fit in workouts and eat healthy. Life is just too short to be like that. I’m finally in a good place where I can balance things out and just go with the flow. It is so liberating and it makes me HAPPY! 🙂

  4. Lee says:

    The food and workout thing both stress me out, unfortunately.

  5. Mellissa says:

    I usually need a vacation from my vacation we do so much! We do try to always schedule a day to veg and relax.

  6. Vacations used to stress me out. Now I completely enjoy them for what they are – time away. I used to plan every second to a T. Not any more. I try to go with the flow and just enjoy! Hope you had a great workout.

  7. All great tips for vacations.

    I know I used to stress so much about vacations, but honestly, everytime I’d come back I would find I would lose weight. It seems like on vacations I’m a better intuitive eater. EAting what I want but not too much, plus all the constant movement burns more cals than you think.

    So glad you are back!

  8. I love your tips tina. So true.

    I just got back from 2 weeks in south africa and i was not as balanced as i would like to have been. It´s funny, I never had a “go big” mentality with food or indulging on vacations but now that I have been living in a hut in Mozambique for almost two years, going to the real world is really overstimulating and I TOTALLY overate. Funny, I ate mostly healthy stuff, but then there were smoothies and muffins and just too much food in general. I am trying not to beat myself up about it because I DID run every other day in the cold and I could have done WAY worse… but still wish I had brought more balance to the table! But the 5 pounds I came back with are giving me a lot to reflect on, but I guess it was worth it to have food I wanted before coming back to 5 more months of beans and rice 🙂

  9. If I have too many things to do on vacation, it stresses me out, but I usually try to kick back and relax!

  10. Jess says:

    Awesome post! I can definitely relate to this – I will admit that in years’ past, I would often TOTALLY let go and really go overboard with indulgent eating and such (I know, hard to believe right??) but now I aim for balance on vacations. I DO allow for some indulging but nothing outrageous. An extra drink or two, or a special dessert I rarely get to eat, or something out of the norm for me at dinner that I wouldn’t ordinarily order if at home – but I try to pick ONE to indulge on, not multiple. And I try to keep my workouts going, albeit less controlled, more relaxed, as much as possible. And if I have a couple of rest days in there instead of one, so be it 🙂 Great reminder, as usual from you Tina! I especially love the part about embracing your surroundings and reveling in it. That’s the best part of a vacation to me. Sitting and just being present. No distractions.

  11. Usually vacation does not stress me out unless it happens to be in the middle of my training for a race or something. But even then I try to be realistic and enjoy myself.

  12. Tina! Welcome back! This was a wonderful post and I’m so excited to link to it later this week! I recently started a one month: Be your BEST self makeover and this fits perfectly into my message for week one which is natural eating, nixing the all or nothing mentality, and making time for exercise (even on vacation, even if it’s not structured)! Always love your posts!! Take care girly!

  13. I do tend to get stressed out over vacations. I think a lot of it has to do with being out of my routine. I’m usually ok with not exercising for a week…although I’m always itching to get back into it once the vacation is over!

  14. Rachel says:

    The vacation I just took last weekend gave me a TON of anxiety. That was a first for me. There was a lot of stuff going on, though. It was my grandma’s 85th birthday and there was a lot of family drama dealing with her failing health, and her personality is SO much different than what it used to be. A lot of us were struggling with that.

    It was also the first time my boyfriend had met my mom’s side of the family and I was nervous because so many of them are coo-coo crazy and I felt a little stressed out about how he’d feel about me and them. Which I know is stupid, but I felt it anyway.

    I combined all of those things with obsessing about exercising every day, so I woke up earlier than everyone every day and then was EXHAUSTED and cranky all day because of it.

    Live and learn. Next time I need to take a chill pill and enjoy the time with my family more.

  15. Lindsay says:

    When I head out on vacation, I do my best to put everything at home back behind me so I can fully enjoy the trip! I usually get a ton of anxiety before we leave though.

  16. Holly says:

    This is such a great post, Tina, and so perfect since I leave for vacation in two weeks!

    I am kind of up/down with vacations. I do find in general that I actually eat more intuitively on vacations since I’m so happy (I mean, with a beach or a pool…who wouldn’t be happy, right??!). But the exercising thing still does get to me sometimes. It’s going to be a good “test” for me, being unable to go to a gym for a week. You are so right, though, in that the “other” stuff counts! Moving is moving…it’s just sometimes in unconventional ways on vacations, right?

  17. These are really great tips! I used to experience a lot of vacation anxiety…I could never just let go, live in the present, and fully enjoy myself! The key for me is remembering that one week will not make or break my health. I am in this for the long-haul, and vacations are a (wonderful!) part of life. Now I savor them, try to keep up with my healthy habits as best I can, and then get right back into my regular routine when I get home.

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  19. Hayley says:

    I wish I could’ve read this weeks ago before we left for Greece! I really could’ve used some of these tips. Not that I don’t already know most of them, but a little reminder from someone else is always a huge help!

    I had a great trip and really enjoyed myself, but more often than not I forced myself to wake up early and go for a little jog, despite the fact that we did tons of walking and my body was already tired and sore. The good news is that I had no problems indulging in the food without overdoing it or feeling guilty.

    This is a really great post though, and I will keep it in mind next time we go away – whenever that may be! 🙂

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