Cat Meffan: 6 tips to staying mentally and physically fit on holiday
In theory, you ought to come back from holiday feeling well rested, both physically and mentally. It’s in all of our nature, however, to let our hair down on holiday. Unfortunately, this can leave us feeling a little worse for wear when we return home to our usual routine. To prevent this, we caught up with Cat Meffan, the ex-gymnast and advanced yogi, to find out how she stays physically and mentally fit on holiday…
Ahead of your flight, prep some food to take with you. Airport food isn’t one to worry about too much, as most airports have quite a few food options, but if you’re flying long haul and you know you’ll get peckish, then I recommend preparing food before you fly and taking it with you. A few ideas of what to take are overnight oats with fruit, a yummy salad with beans and lentils, humus with raw veggies, homemade granola bars or protein balls.
If you’re flying for anything over 4 hours, then I recommend getting on a yoga mat and stretching out your body. It doesn’t need to be a hour-long power flow, but just enough movement to get your blood circulating and your muscles stretched out. Give this stretch a go next time you’re about to head to the airport. I also recommend setting your watch/phone to the time of the country that you’re travelling to the moment you get to the airport and try your best to eat and sleep on with that country’s time zone. This will help with jet lag when travelling long haul.
Whilst in the air, the most important thing is to stay hydrated. Don’t worry about asking the people next to you if they can move to let you out. Really everyone should be up and down walking the isle a few times and going to the bathroom if they are drinking enough water.
Exercising on holiday isn’t going to be something that everyone wants to do, but of course, the more you move, the better you’re going to feel and the healthier your body and mind is going to be. This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym though. Maybe try going to a run or walk along the beach every day, maybe finding a local hike to do and explore the area more, or even have a look for local fitness/yoga classes to take part in.
If you’re going to a relaxing beach holiday, ask around and see if there’s a sunrise or sunset yoga class you could join. I’m about to undertake a yoga residency on Coco Bodu Hithi in the Maldives, where I will be teaching a number of Restorative Flow yoga classes which will lead people through a fluid and stretchy yoga flow to allow the body, mind and breath to unwind from the day. It’s the perfect way to ease into a relaxing evening.
FIND SOME BALANCE
We all like to indulge in food whilst away, which is ok. You’re on holiday after all. The key is to find a balance between indulging and enjoying your food and over-indulging to the point of making ourselves feel sick. This is much easier said than done. One tip is to avoid hotels that have a buffet for every meal, as these are the times we’re most likely to lose control. I know this, as I’m very much that person! A breakfast buffet is great and can give us lots of nourishment for the day ahead, but we don’t necessarily need that temptation again for lunch and dinner.
One for your mental health is to practice daily gratitude whilst away. This is something I do every day, but when we’re on holiday we can be quick to slip into taking what’s around us for granted. Take moments each day to pick three things that you’re grateful for and maybe sit with them in meditation for 5-10 minutes.
When it comes to being time to leave your holiday, you’ll have a big bank of beautiful memories to be grateful for.