The ides of March have passed and the showers of April will soon be upon us, both of which point to one thing – Spring Break! For a work-from-home mom like me, the weeklong break can go one of two ways. I can fill the kids’ schedules with staycation activities, attempting to fulfill my day-job duties in 30-minute pockets of time here and there throughout the day, ultimately staying up past midnight to make sure everything gets done. Or, I can take the entire week off to enjoy 100 percent of my time with the kids, whether we stay at home or jaunt off to a tropical destination in the Florida panhandle.
Either way, our normal routines are off. Regular meals go out the window. Trips to the gym are nil. Tennis matches and tumble classes are put on hold. Despite the relaxing nature of the week, I have to think hard about how to keep health and wellness top of mind. My tried-and-true tricks (for adults and kids alike) include:
1. Take a daily multivitamin. It provides me piece of mind that I’m getting a daily dose of vitamins and minerals on the days that I go for cheese dip and tortilla chips over a spinach salad.
2. Pop a few fiber gummies. Just because your schedule is off doesn’t mean your regularity has to be.
3. Stay hydrated. Put bottles of water in your purse, picnic bag, car, luggage. Make sure there’s a bottle within reach of everyone at all times. Lack of hydration can lead to a number of illnesses that can contribute to a last-minute trip to the tourist trap’s local ER.
4. Stay slathered in sunscreen. See #3 for places to stash bottles of at least SPF 30. Don’t forget the sunscreen-infused lip balm! Sunglasses and visors are also good preventative sunburn measures.
5. Walk, don’t drive. Opt for an ambulatory outing rather than an automotive one when possible. You say your beach house is three or four blocks from the actual beach? Take advantage of your host city’s sidewalks and crosswalks to get a few steps in. You may break a sweat, but at least you’ll end your journey with a cool dip in the ocean.
6. Keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand at all times. Don’t worry – salsa and guacamole count! No matter where we vacation, whether it’s with family or in a rented abode, our first trip to the local grocery involves stocking up on tons of fruits and vegetables. Watermelon is of course a particular family favorite during the warmer months. Chilled or even frozen grapes are also a safe bet – they can even help keep your beach coolers chilled for the first hour or two.
7. Keep it colorful when eating out. Sometimes you just have to give in to that desire for a fried shrimp basket. I get it. But once you’ve gotten that out of your system, try to manage at least one fruit or vegetable on your plate when dining out. This could be a side salad, coleslaw, cantaloupe, or even the perennial kid favorite, applesauce. Your entire body will thank you once you return home, I promise.
8. Get a little more physical. I discovered the joys of paddle boarding last summer. It was a fairly easy way to work out while enjoying a bit of solitude amidst the ocean waves. Bike riding and walking tours are also fun and potentially educational activities to seek out.
9. Nap it out. Give in to that pent up urge to catch up on a few zzzzs. Naps are one of God’s most precious gifts to mankind, so don’t feel guilty about grabbing a good book and heading to the hammock for an afternoon siesta. (Opt for a shady spot so you don’t wake up looking like a lobster.)
10. Finally, have fun! The key word in “Spring Break” is “break,” so don’t go crazy trying to stick to 10,000 steps a day or your current weight-loss program. Give yourself license to enjoy your favorite foods and drinks in moderation. Don’t be the party pooper who joins the family for dinner at a fantastic restaurant only to end up ordering a bland salad with no dressing while everyone else takes advantage of the cuisine.
Wishing you and yours great weather, calm waters, and good times this Spring Break!