Sunday Thoughts (the “after” vacation)

I love what I do.

So when I’m working I don’t exhaust a lot of time wishing I was on vacation.

And since moving to Florida, and now living where people often go to “get away,” I find there’s plenty of ways to decompress, enjoy the outdoors and do fun stuff.

But taking a break is healthy too. And I was happy to take a few days recently to leave town with Karen, see some new things, and just switch it up a bit.

Change is good.

Once we got back to town, we had plans to meet up with another couple who were also returning from some time away. Unfortunately, they had to cancel.

They were both under the weather. Their vacation, a time that’s supposed to recharge you… it left them both sick.

Now it was nothing serious and they bounced back quickly. But it got me thinking about just how common it is to get sick after a vacation, or worse, during one.

Talk about a kick in the teeth.

A change of scenery and a new routine can throw your body for a loop. Especially if your vacation involves air travel, which can really do a number on you.

Most people associate getting sick on airplanes with all the germy stuff you come in contact with. Tray tables, seat belts, even blankets that don’t get cleaned between flights (gross).

But what really causes a lot of sickness on airplanes is the low humidity. This can dry out your nasal passages, irritate your throat, and worse… leave your defenses down against bacteria, both during and after your flight.

I travel with a simple saline spray that I spritz up there before and after each flight. Not sure if it’s doing what it’s supposed to, but I’m not sick so there you go.

That’s not to say that you don’t come into contact with a lot of allergens, germs and other gunk when you’re out and about. So don’t forget to wash your hands, early and often while you’re traveling.

A real handwashing (we’re talking 15-20 seconds, not a quick rinse) can do wonders for keeping you healthy.

Still, by far the biggest culprit when it comes to the vacation “bug” is just exhaustion. Even if your vacation involves lying about on the beach, getting there and back can be a grind.

And if you have a lot of responsibilities, both home and at work, getting your life squared away before you even leave the house can take its toll.

Sleep deprivation is a major immune system booby trap. And if you’re running yourself ragged on vacation, trying to pack in endless days of sightseeing or whatnot, no wonder you’re wrung out when you get back home!

So, no matter what your vacation plans, prioritize sleep. It’s probably something you’re not getting enough of anyway… and a good night’s sleep is a vacation in itself.

The best tip I have is if you can swing it, plan your vacation with at least a day back home before you’re back into your routine. That way you can ease back into “real life” gradually, catch up on a nap if you need it, and return to normal without feeling like you’ve got the post-vacation flu.

That’s all for today. Vacation’s over and my “honey do” list is a mile long.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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