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Life After Travel Takes Some Getting Used To

Our bodies and mind need a reset to more easily return to everyday life.

(Photo: Gary Hovland)

Whether you’ve been away on vacation or for business, your return home can leave you feeling tired, overweight – and maybe even a little stressed. To smooth your re-entry, put the following items on your return home list.

  1. Keep jet lag at bay. If you’ve changed time zones, the National Sleep Foundation recommends avoiding alcohol or caffeine at least three hours before bedtime, getting your exercise early in the day, staying away from heavy meals and getting out in the sunlight as much as possible. These things will help you sleep at night and get back on your home schedule more easily.

 

  1. Tackle the unpacking. Emptying and stowing your suitcases will help you relax. Professional organizers suggest packing a lightweight plastic bag to stow dirty clothes as you travel and sorting it straight into your hamper or washing machine when you get home. Store your passport and any needed travel receipts in a secure spot. Refill your travel toiletries kit, then store it with your empty suitcases.

 

  1. Make a home for photos and souvenirs. Organizing these is easier if you do it right away. Sort your digital photos into folders and choose which you’d like to print. Digital services such as Mpix or Shutterfly will let you make prints or photo books. You can also check out Pinterest for fun ways to display photos and souvenirs.

 

  1. Reset your eating habits. Chances are, you didn’t eat as healthfully on your trip as you would at home. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends resetting by getting back to basics. Build your meals around fruits and vegetables (low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals), whole grains (which contain fiber to help you feel full longer), low-fat dairy options (for calcium and vitamin D) and lean beef, poultry, seafood, beans, lentils and soy (for protein).

 

  1. Get exercise back on track. If you have a regular workout routine, restart gradually if you need to. If your post-trip weigh-in has inspired you to start one, the American Academy of Family Physicians suggests working up to 30-60 minutes of physical activity five days a week. This can be broken up into 10-minute segments and could include just about any activity that boosts your heart rate. Walking the dog, biking, jogging, dancing and hitting the gym all count.

Read more articles about travel-related health topics. AAA.com/LiveWell

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