You know that feeling when you get back from a really great vacation and you’re just so let down that you have to get back to real life? Yep, I know it too. It’s pretty inevitable. And I’m not going to pretend I can eliminate it, or make you feel like you’re living in vacation mode all the time. BUT, one of the most helpful tools I learned when I worked with my health coach was to work to cultivate a vacation mindset more often.
I have a lot to say about this, so I think I’ll make it a little series, but today I’m going to focus on cultivating a vacation mindset around exercise.
Now that I have healed my relationship with exercise, choosing movement that feels fun and nourishing to my body and viewing it as a treat, not a punishment, I really enjoy exercising on vacation. I took these pictures last Spring, on a walk in North Carolina that felt so invigorating, energizing, and joyful. But, it also made me reflect on a time when this would NOT have been possible for me. Before I worked with my health coach and healed my relationship with my body, I viewed exercise as at best an obligation, and at worst, a form of punishment. An obligation because my body would never look the way I wanted it to if I didn’t work out. A punishment because I drank some wine or ate something that “wasn’t on my diet” and had to make up for it.
When I was on vacation back then, I had a SERIOUSLY complicated relationship with exercise. I didn’t want to exercise on vacation because it was supposed to be my break from all that obligation and punishment. But yet, I was definitely eating off my diet, so didn’t I HAVE to exercise? Oh and if/when a family member suggested we go for a beautiful walk like the one where I took these beautiful pictures, I would hear “you are eating a lot, shouldn’t you be exercising!?”
It has been SUCH an amazing shift to go from hating vacation exercise to LOVING it and looking at it as a total treat for my mind and body. And I can honestly say that’s what I feel about exercise all the time, not just while on vacation. I love taking yoga and barre classes that help me feel strong, centered, and grounded. I love walking with my pup and/or daughter and watching them take in their surroundings. Sometimes I crave a jog, and when I do, I take one, without it meaning that I have to adopt a rigorous running routine or train for a race or burn a certain number of calories.
I want to stress, though, that it wasn’t always this way. In fact it has only been recently that I’ve given myself permission to exercise (or not) in the way that makes my body feel best. I spent years exercising to “fix” my body, to shrink my body, to punish myself, or to reach some artificial goal of calories burned or minutes exercised or pounds lost that was set by a source outside of myself.
How do you feel about exercising while on vacation? In everyday life? Is there a fun activity you often do while on vacation that you could incorporate in your normal exercise routine? Is there a shift you need to make in the way you think about regular exercise or how you choose to move daily that could help it be more fun? What would feel like a treat for your body when you’re IN or outside of your normal routine?
Send me your thoughts - I’d love to brainstorm with you!