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My view from the little bungalow I rented in the hills above Santa Barbara, CA.  The sun is setting, the sky is blue and pink.  A large oak tree is in the foreground, and in the background is the Pacific Ocean and some of the smaller islands off of the California coast.

Wellness Wake-Up: The Pitfalls Of Breaking Routine On Vacation

January 13, 20242 min read

I recently took some time off between Christmas and New Year's.  This was the first time I'd done that, and I'm pretty sure it'll be a new tradition.  When I decided to take that time off, my partner said that he'd like to have my holiday present be a solo getaway (I know, I'm exceptionally lucky and incredibly grateful).  

Initially, I was thinking about going to the mountains, because cold weather and a forest sounded exactly like the perfect recipe for relaxation.  But, being in Southern California, the possibility of snow during that time was pretty high, and I didn't want to have to deal with putting snow chains on my tires.  Instead, I found a cute little bungalow in the hills above Santa Barbara, booked my stay, and (overly) packed up my car.

I've noticed that when I'm in vacay mode, I'm like a kid whose parents have gone away for the weekend.  I toss aside all of my usual "healthy" living routines and foods and instead do whatever I want.  Generally, 

I don't eat a lot of meat because it makes my inflammation ramp up.  I don't eat any dairy because I have an allergy to the proteins.  I don't eat late at night, don't drink too much booze, or munch on sweets.  But when I'm out of town?  Oooh, baby, watch out.  Mama's lettin' loose.  

This time, though, I definitely noticed the effects of this lifestyle change.  And, let me tell you, it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. 

I'd snack on kettle corn while binge-watching a show late at night.  Not surprisingly, I slept like garbage while there.  I tossed and turned more than usual, I had achy joints, and I didn't feel rested when I woke up.

This got me thinking – is it really a treat to hang loose on vacation in this way?  Sure, I enjoyed reading and painting and not having a set schedule.  Did I love the eggs, bacon, and Bloody Mary for breakfast?  Obviously.  But zooming in, it was only my mouth that enjoyed it, and the dopamine rush from the yummies only lasted so long.  

This was a good realization for me.  It wasn't actually a treat.  Instead of coming home refreshed, I felt sluggish, bloated, and in need of some catch-up rest.  

So the next time I take time off and feel the urge to throw caution to the wind and eat and drink whatever I want whenever I want, I'm going to remind myself of my solo time in Santa Barbara.  Instead, I'll bring better food and drink choices that keep my body feeling happy rather than depleted.  Because ultimately, for me, the point of a vacation is recharging myself on all levels, and I can't do that when I feel like crap.

Picture of the foothills above Santa Barbara, CA.  There are succulents in the foreground and blue sky and white clouds in the distance.

VacationRoutineWellness RoutineYogaAyurvedaSanta BarbaraSanta Barbara FoothillsOverindulgence
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