Written by Lauren Preston
Settling back into your routine can be challenging, especially when you’re daydreaming about chilling on the beach sipping cocktails, exploring new places and ultimately relaxing away from all of life’s stresses!
The post-holiday blues can have a negative effect on your day-to-day wellbeing, especially when reality hits that your holiday has ended and the fear of falling back into your routine quickly descends over you. So, if you’re sat in front of your computer or scrolling through your phone with a major case of post-holiday blues, this post is for you.
Here are 5 simple diet tips by the UK’s leading provider in food intolerance testing, YorkTest, and one of their expert nutritional therapists, Ali Orr, on how you can avoid the dreaded PHB and help you transition back to your normal life!
Drink lots of water.
You may not realise, but a long-haul flight can quickly dehydrate you. The recycled air, lack of humidity and salty in-flight food can quickly take its toll. Did you know the environment when you’re high in the skies is almost three times drier than the Sahara Desert?
Even if you have returned from holiday a couple of weeks ago, it’s easy to slip out of a routine and drink less water than usual, especially as you would have taken on different eating and drinking habits abroad. Tell-tale signs could be headaches, migraines and general fatigue.
Ali says: “Even a 1% drop in hydration can lead to fatigue, brain fog and even contribute to digestive issues such as constipation. I recommend aiming for 2 litres per day plus 500ml for every 30 minutes you exercise,” so start filling up your empty glass!
Curb the caffeine.
That’s right. Push your cup of coffee or glass of wine to the side! These will only contribute to the aforementioned dehydration and it’ll do you no good. You may have been treating yourself to a few more glasses of wine on your holidays, but now you’re back home, it’s important to reign it in whilst you readjust.
When you arrive home after your first day back at work, it may feel like instinct to reach for a glass of wine or to open a can of beer, especially to combat the stress of your day. Alcohol can act as a depressant, therefore sending you round a vicious cycle of post-vacation blues.
“Alcohol can disrupt sleep and contribute to feeling drained on a morning rather than waking with a spring in your step” mentions Ali.
“It is usually the habit of having a drink in your hand that is the most difficult to break. Try sparkling or soda water with ice and fresh lime slices. It doesn’t sound exciting, but it really can help break the habit!”
Coffee and tea are the same as alcohol. Though coffee has fantastic health benefits, you may want to consider avoiding it before, during and after your next flight abroad as this could aggravate nausea, headaches and a general sense of feeling unwell.
After your flight and the days that follow, swerve your daily pitstop at Starbucks and opt for water until you start to get back into the swing of your routine and maintain that post-holiday glow!
Say no to junk food.
When you feel low, it’s easy to reach for comfort foods such as fizzy drinks, takeaways, and anything that contains a quick sugar spike. In the short term, it can be a quick fix to give you a burst of happy endorphins but, in the long term, you’ll slump in energy and end up feeling more down in the dumps.
Ali says: “It is difficult to break the cycle of sugar in your diet. When you eat something sugary it causes a spike in your blood sugar, this causes the body to release the hormone insulin which brings the blood sugar back down to safe levels. If you consume a lot of sugar, the body requires more insulin which can then result in low blood sugar and cause cravings for more, as the body now needs to increase the blood sugar.
The best way to get off this rollercoaster is to ensure you eat quality foods that are not high in sugar, protein and fat at every meal and go cold turkey on the sugary snacks and treats. After 4 days, they won’t bother you anymore!”
Focus on healthy eating, including making sure you’re eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. A healthier diet in general will just be like pressing reset on your mood and you’ll start to feel that your day-to-day routine isn’t as bad or dreary as you thought when you stepped off the plane.
Top up on your B vitamins.
If it’s been a good few weeks since you touched down on home soil, then perhaps you need to stock up on your vitamins. A lack of B vitamins can result in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations and stomach problems, like constipation, gas and diarrhoea.
As mentioned, depending on how long you’ve been away, a different diet and eating habits can send your vitamins out of sync. B vitamins are quick energy boosters and will give you an extra thrust to help you readjust to day-to-day life.
“Taking a B-Complex can help support energy production and help you deal with the stress of getting back into your daily routine. Be aware that B vitamins can cause luminous urine!” Ali advises.
Still not feeling it?
You can expect to settle back into your routine within a few weeks, but if you’re still feeling under the weather long after going back to work after your holiday, perhaps there’s something else going on. Book an appointment to speak to your GP over any concerning or problematic symptoms.
If you’ve got the all clear, but you’re still at a loss and suffering from symptoms such as tiredness, headaches and migraines, stomach problems and skin problems, did you know these can also be symptoms of a food intolerance†?
Going on holiday can see you getting more adventurous when it comes to trying new foods and you may have even noticed a shift in your eating habits. There’s an easy way to confirm whether returning to your day-to-day diet or incorporating new foods into your routine isn’t working for you.
Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest, with over 30 years’ experience says, “An IgG-guided food intolerance test can be a great starting base for an elimination diet, by pinpointing the foods that aren’t working for you”.
As a cautionary side note, be careful of less-reliable home food intolerance test kits out there. Gill says “unfortunately, there is no regulation on food intolerance tests. Your health shouldn’t lay in the hands of those who can’t provide scientific evidence that their tests are effective, so it’s important to look out for credibility”.
Nutritional therapist Ali concludes that “it’s certainly common to experience the holiday blues when you have to get back into routine. Mindset is a huge element of overcoming the blues. Looking back at your holiday with gratitude and being thankful for the opportunity to have been on holiday is a great way to prolong the holiday spirit”
“Try planning things into your life that you enjoy so you have things to look forward to. It can be as simple as walking your dog or watching your favourite TV show. Having things to look forward to flip the brain into a more positive mindset!”
† YorkTest define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction
YorkTest recommend that you discuss any medical concerns you have with a GP.