Published July 15, 2012
Going on vacation can often be your favorite times of the year. You’re filling each day with fun activities, exploring new sights, eating new and exciting food, and just generally having a good time.
Whether it's a few day trips around your city, state or province, a relaxing visit to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic or a challenging, exciting trip backpacking across Europe, each vacation day's schedule is likely brimming with things you'll remember for years to come. But when you get back home, it’s easy to slip back into old, mundane and bad habits.
A day after you were relaxing on a legendary beach somewhere, you’re likely finding yourself getting up early, trying to keep your cool in a traffic jam on the way to work, eating a poor-quality lunch on the run, then back to work at a job you don't enjoy until dinner, before finally crashing in front of the television and feeling miserable for the rest of the evening. Then you repeat the entire process over again. When you’re on a healthy vacation (we're not talking about a weekend bender in Vegas here), keep an eye out for the positive habits you pick up, and try to keep with them all year.
When you're having fun and doing things you enjoy, you'll pick up good habits without hardly noticing them. When you incorporate these into your regular life, you’ll thank yourself for it, and those who are closest to you will also appreciate the version 2.0 of you.
Here are the top 10 vacation habits you should maintain all year long.
1. Treat Yourself
When you’re away from home, it’s easy to splurge on yourself. Often, you may say, “Well, I’m on vacation,” then buy yourself that new wardrobe or recreational item that you’ve had your eye on. Return home, however, and you’ll list off reasons why you shouldn’t. We’re not advocating reckless spending, but there’s something satisfying about treating yourself every now and then. When you see something you want, balance splurging and practicality by putting a little money aside until you can justify the expense. Then spoil yourself a little.
2. Enjoy The Scenery
Have you ever noticed that when you drive somewhere regularly, you’re hardly aware of your surroundings? Or that as soon as you find yourself on a new road, you’re enjoying looking out the window? New scenery can be thrilling when you’re on vacation, but remember to enjoy the simple things when you’re back home, too. If you live in a picturesque area, take the time to get out and explore it.
3. Do Things You Enjoy
Vacations are typically full of entertaining activities -- a typical holiday in a resort town may include swimming, lounging on the beach, golf, eating and drinking, and a day trip. What’s missing from this list? Things you don’t enjoy doing. When you get back home, strive to add more pleasurable activities to your day. You don’t have to cut out the less-thrilling ones, too, but doing at least one activity you enjoy daily will give you a break from the more monotonous parts of your day.
4. Relax and Breathe
When on vacation, you’re not afraid to take a deep breath, feel calm and enjoy a massage at your hotel or resort spa. Learning to relax -- even through the simple act of breathing -- can have health benefits, but also just feels good. Incorporating a monthly massage into life at home can help you unwind, and remembering to breathe in tense situations will also keep you calmer.
5. Trying New Food
Away from home, you may be more likely to be an adventurous eater, trying new and underrated cuisines with regularity. But when you get back into your kitchen, it’s easy to fall into the chicken-one-night, beef-the-next routine. Instead, allow yourself to be inspired by the new food you try on vacation, then visit a bookstore or surf the internet and learn how to cook similar types of meals.
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There's a reason you often pack a pair of cross-trainers when you're on vacation: You end up walking everywhere. Whether it's the overwhelming desire to avoid sitting in a vehicle, explore or simply take a slower-paced approach, vacations are often rife with aerobic exercise. When you get back home, think about your everyday actions and how you can walk a little more. Can you take a short walk every evening after dinner? Walk to a bus stop instead of getting dropped off?
Or can you park at a distant end of your work parking lot and give yourself a couple extra minutes of fresh air and walking each day? If the answer is yes, try to walk some more and refresh your routine.
7. Get More Sleep
There are arguments to be made for and against sleeping in, but for this purpose, we’re not advocating sleeping until noon every Saturday and wasting half the day. Instead, try to get to bed a little earlier each weeknight and give yourself one weekend morning to sleep in an extra hour.
Doing so gives your body the rest it requires and can help you feel less irritable and get over illnesses quicker. Getting an extra hour’s sleep also means fewer cups of coffee and caffeine side-effects, plus you'll be more energized around the office.
8. Be Romantic
If you’re away with your wife or girlfriend, you might find the vacation mood gives you more time for romance and intimacy. Back at home, however, it’s a different story as you’re rushing to and from work, running errands on the weekend and trying to get to the gym twice a week. Suddenly, the romance that was part of the daily routine during your holiday has fallen by the wayside.
Perhaps a step back is in order, one into the romantic vibe you were feeling when you were on vacation. Put the run-run-run attitude on hold. Your significant other will thank you.
9. Chill Out
It takes a lot to ruin a vacation because it is, after all, a vacation. You’re almost automatically in a good mood and willing to let things roll off your back. So why are you flipping out at someone who cuts in front of you on the way home from the airport? A week earlier, a server may have tripped and dumped an entire tray of drinks on your table, but you shrugged it off with a laugh because you were in full chill mode on your holiday. Like you do when you’re on holiday, learn to dial things back a little the rest of the year. You’ll feel better, and those around you will, too.
10. Be Spontaneous
Whether it’s something exhilarating and dangerous like hang-gliding off a really high cliff or a bold food choice, you may find yourself more spontaneous away from home. Spontaneity breathes new life into your everyday routine, opening doors and giving you a chance to meet new people and find a new hobby. Think of the possibilities 12 months of the year instead of just two weeks.
Despite your busy schedule, take the time to try something new once a week. And be open when others suggest something spontaneous, too. Instead of automatically shooting down new ideas, give them a shot.