5 Ways to Get Back on Track After a Long Weekend
Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where assistant nutrition editor and registered dietitian, Jessica Ball, keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two and make earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.
This year's celebrations certainly look different from past ones but the thing that has remained the same is that many of us get to enjoy a long weekend. Even if were're just staying at home and firing up the grill or spending time in the outdoors, it's a well-deserved day off! Especially as all of our routines have shifted. Nonetheless, it can feel overwhelming to get back on track after taking an extra day (or more) off to relax and have fun. Here are some easy tips to help you get back on track and feel healthy all weeklong.
1. Make a Plan
One of the simplest ways to get back on track after a long weekend is to make a meal plan for the week. This will help you identify what you have and need to use up, and also what you need to buy from the grocery store. Spelling out your plan for the week can help you be efficient, save money at the store, cut down on waste and also feel more settled going into your week. Lucky for you, we have this Beginner's Guide to Meal Prep to get you started. Even if you only plan a few dinners, you'll feel accomplished and will make your evenings less hectic.
2. Have Some Water
This may sound straightforward but it is worth calling out. Certain holidays are associated with some level of drinking, even if this year it was just at home. Dehydration can leave you feeling groggy, fatigued and unprepared to get back into a healthful groove. Carry a water bottle with you to make sure you can easily meet your hydration goals. Also, try to drink a glass before each meal to help you distinguish hunger from what is actually thirst. For more, check out how much water you should drink, by the numbers.
3. Catch Some Zzz's
Let's face it, sometimes long weekends may not be the most restful times. Especially if you were hosting guests or stayed up into the night to enjoy some fireworks, sleep may have gotten pushed to the side. On top of that, alcohol can come between you and a good night's rest. Kick off the week with a solid night of sleep. Shoot for at least 7 to 9 hours, and try and get away from screens for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Staying in a consistent sleep routine can also help you sleep better and make you feel more refreshed in the morning.
4. Move Your Body
Getting some exercise and moving your body, even if it is just a walk around the block, can help you feel back on track after a long weekend. Not only does exercise help you stave off chronic disease and promote weight loss, but it can also give you a mental health boost, reduce stress and increase your energy—all things that may be lacking after extra time out of your typical routine. There are added benefits if you can get out in sunshine or nature in general, from improved mood and focus to better blood pressure control.
5. Give Yourself a Break
The bottom line is that it's important to cut yourself some slack. No one is perfect and the cornerstone of a sustainable and healthy lifestyle is allowing it to adapt to the way you actually live. Not every weekend is a long weekend and holidays are worth celebrating without constantly worrying about if what you are doing is the "healthiest" thing you could do. Notice when you slip out of your routine and take small steps to physically and mentally get back on track. To dive in even more, check out our 30-Day Back to Healthy Challenge for inspiration and recipes to get back on the right track.