How to have awesome self-care routines with disrupted schedules

Cindy JobsHealth and Well-Being

I hear this a lot:

“My self-care routine was going well, then we went on vacation, and everything fell apart.”

I’m guessing you’ve said that yourself; I know I have.  But what are we supposed to do when our schedules get disrupted?  Let’s take a look.

In my opinion, a great morning routine starts with a good nights’ sleep, so I try to get at least seven hours a night. (If you want more info on restorative sleep, check out this TED talk.)

As an example of how to keep self-care routines in place, let’s look at my morning self-care routine:

  • Up around 6:00.
  • Grab my home-pressed celery juice and jump on the treadmill for 30 minutes (or weight-lifting depending on the day).
  • 15 minutes of meditation.
  • A green tea latte made with home-made walnut milk and a banana oatmeal muffin.
  • Review daily schedule then hit the ground running.

Now, if I were to head out of town, some of this routine would be hard to maintain.  What’s a girl to do?

First and foremost, if maintaining your self-care schedule while away from home will affect others, give some thought as to how to accommodate your needs and the needs of others.

If the travel schedule has personal-time gaps, you are golden.  Take that time for yourself.

If the travel schedules have you in a group dynamic, moving from one place to another, be considerate of how imposing your self-care routine may impact others’ enjoyment of the trip.

Bottom line, take care of yourself but be considerate of others.

If you can accommodate your self-care routine without impacting others’ schedule, be open about how you anticipate spending your free time.  If your travel companions have visions of hanging with you at the pool, and your vision is going to the gym, there may be some frustration when there is a disconnect.

Now, let’s take a look at how maintaining my self-care routine might look while away from home.

Depending on where you are going, here are some suggestions:

  1.  Sleep:  This is a tricky one because a lot of time when we are on vacation there are events that go later into the night than I’m accustomed to, but I know that getting a good nights’ sleep is important.  What do I do?  When possible, I will excuse myself from activities and head to bed.  Most of the time, no one notices, or it doesn’t bother them.  If I can’t do that, I will make sure that I maintain my sleep schedule at least every other night.
  2. Celery juice: If I’m heading to a city destination, celery juice may be available for purchase nearby.  If I’m heading camping, I may want to grab some at the grocery store and take it along with me.  Or, and here’s the big or, I might choose to let it go.  Based on previous experiences, not having celery juice will not have a huge impact — most of the time I’ve elected to let it go.
  3.  Exercise: I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t get some exercise for multiple days, my mental and physical health suffers a bit.  So, if I’m heading to a city destination, I will check out available gym options in the area.  Chances are the hotel either has an acceptable gym or a reciprocal agreement with a local gym.  If I’m heading somewhere that going to the gym isn’t an option, I plan some additional physical activities within my schedule.
  4.  Meditation:  As with physical exercise, meditation helps me stay balanced.  Because my meditation routine is relatively short (15 minutes) and simple to accommodate (my phone and earbuds are all I need), if there is wifi access, I’ve been able to take 15 minutes for myself just about anywhere I go.
  5.  Breakfast:  My breakfast routine generally can’t be duplicated when I’m away from home, so I need to make even more of an effort to eat well, especially in the morning.  As tempting as Salmon Benedict and a Bloody Mary may sound, I know that I will pay for it later in the day, so I try hard to keep myself in check.  Sometimes I will even enlist the help of my travel companions to remind me that healthy choices are available.  I know my weaknesses and use whatever support structures are available to me.
  6.  Now we’re off an running:  Or not.  Here’s where I get tripped up sometimes.  If I’m traveling for work, checking e-mails and schedules are necessary.  If I’m traveling for pleasure, especially with others, I need to be sensitive to life/work balance.  I’ve chosen an occupation where there generally aren’t emergencies so that I can check out and I make every effort to do so.  If your job requires you to be connected, put boundaries around when you will check-in or check e-mails (maybe 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM) and for how long (30-60 minutes) you will connect each day.

Phew!  Lots to take in, right?  For sure, but keeping self-care high on your priority list is the gift you owe yourself.  Not only will you feel better while out of town, getting back on schedule when you get home will be so much easier!

Side note:  If you want some interesting statistics on why not using your vacation days if a bad idea, check out this INC article on how NOT taking vacations is costing America $62 Billion every year.


Cindy Jobs

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