I don’t need a health study to tell me what I know is true: taking a vacation is good for the soul and restful for the mind. But it’s also a chance to break some of the healthy rules that we try so hard to live by.
On vacation in Virginia and Washington, D.C. last week, I stopped going to the gym. We ate donuts and fast food, and snacked on potato chips in the car. We allowed the kids to savor sugary breakfast cereals and Pop Tarts. We stayed up until midnight. I even had a soda while the girls sipped iced tea – the caffeinated variety.
It felt positively sinful and luxurious.
But we walked miles every day while we toured the nation’s capital in blazing heat. My husband Jeff even kept up his running. We also had berries and orange juice at every breakfast and Rainier cherries for dessert. I even brought along my calcium, vitamin D and fish oil. And everybody slathered themselves in sunscreen whenever we left the house. After all, abandoning the health rules didn’t mean being reckless and foolish.
We’re good 80 percent of the time, but the remaining 20 percent is reserved for vacations and special events, when the rules take a back seat to fun and relaxation. Eternal vigilance can become exhausting, especially when there are kids around, not to mention my own sweet tooth.
The kids know it, too. Whenever I got to the checkout with junk food in tow, my daughter Samantha liked to say, “Well, Mom, it is a special event.” To which I told her, “Just make sure it’s truly special and not an everyday thing.”