It’s around this time of year (post family holidays, pre school term starting) that I notice myself getting adventurous in the kitchen. The change of scene, moments to breathe and final days of sun and warmth revive my sense of adventure. Last night I created a delicious Japanese Gyudon steak and rice bowl and I’ve already mapped out the week’s meals so I know they won’t slip back into routine immediately.
Once September arrives (perhaps you’ve been longing for it), there’s a combined sense of new starts; back to normal; and beginning to hibernate for winter. But I believe that if we take the sense of adventure and change of perspective that holidays bring and add them to a loose or rigid plan (according to your planning style) not only can we prolong those summer vibes but we can use them to boost our health, fitness and happiness – a sort of insurance policy for winter.
Here are 23 ideas for creating your own summer extension plan:
- Try out a new recipe or four. Holidays often mean a change of diet or trying new things. This doesn’t have to end when you come home. Adding a spot of variety to your diet refreshes the soul and your gut.
- Eat with the seasons. Holidaying in France always reminds me that our UK supermarkets are often stocked with fruits and vegetables that have travelled more than me. In France you largely get what’s in season and local. We know that the healthiest diets in the world are dictated by distance of source to plate. The fresher the better. So make an effort when you shop to buy in season and support local farmers whilst you’re at it.
- Add one new active habit to your week. For me, cycling to the supermarket or to buy fresh bread is a holiday treat, one which I plan to continue once a week now I’m home.
- Create a new fitness habit. How is this different to the above? Fitness for me is more structured. Now I’ve quit my gym (it made me miserable) I need to get an at home weights workout going. Something which we’ll be kicking off with the Fit School Hub.
- Schedule in time to play. It’s very easy to put off the game of cricket in the garden or trip to the park to ‘when stuff is done’ but when we’re on holiday, it’s more of a priority. How about prioritising play or family time at the weekend and getting the family more active in the process?
- Walk more. If you flew or got the train to your holiday destination, the chances are you walked a lot once you were there. Keep up the summer strolls in September – perhaps invest in a good rain jacket now.
- Visit somewhere without the car. Similar to the above but go further afield. Catch a train or bike to somewhere different together. You’ll be more active without automobile power and might get a new perspective.
- Learn something new. It doesn’t have to be active. It could be a new hobby or craft. But learning something new is brilliant for our nervous system. It builds up layers of myelin, the nervous system’s sheath and protection. It’s also fun and rewarding.
- Play games. Games could be garden games, beach games or board games. They’re fun, encourage getting together and again, are great for our brains.
- Switch off the screens. We love having no television on holiday. In fact I find it quite invasive when I’m at home again. From iPads to televisions, have a break. Even if it’s one evening per week. See how much more you talk.
- Take social media breaks. As well as the screens, think about that lovely data roaming free time when you didn’t care about what Sally ate for breakfast or Fred’s new cat. We love social media but it can also make you feel a little inadequate so have black out times. You can always catch up later.
- Go out for nice coffee. I’m a real foody traveller. Cafe au lait in a french cafe or a kir in a bar are all part of my holiday experience. Plus the french just know all about the detail: the right glass and a little biscuit or madeleine. So treat yourself. Head to the best cafe in town and indulge in good coffee. ALONE!
- Get out in the sun early and consider a vitamin D supplement. From September, the curvature of the earth means that in the UK we can’t make sufficient vitamin D from sun alone. We’ll have reserves from the summer but it’s worth getting ahead with a vitamin D supplement now, especially if you have darker skin (you’ll need more).
- Spend more time being active. From strolling to the shops to swimming, we tend to be more active on holiday (especially if you have kids) so be mindful to keep it up once the kids are back at school.
- Get strong again. Even if you’ve kept up a regular running or cycling habit over the summer break, our muscles atrophy without use. So get back to your resistance training before the softness sets in.
- Join a local group or class. The social aspect of holidays is key for me. Meeting new people. Conversations in another language. Finding out about others and getting a new perspective. It’s all here for the taking at home too. How about plugging into a community or local group and meeting new friends.
- Book in a fitness/activity challenge. If you’re struggling for motivation, having an event booked in now for this year or next will help kick start you.
- Rediscover you. This sounds a bit woo woo but take a little time to remember what makes you happy. Write it down and do more of that.
- Reconnect with friends. Especially if you’ve missed them over the holidays.
- Lose the biscuits, snacks and wine for a while. Is it time for tea or wine? If this is a question you have recently asked yourself, it’s time for a little detox.
- Sleep more. Go to bed early!
- Read more.
- Book another holiday!
For more information on the Fit School Hub or to get on the waiting list visit our Fit School Hub Page