5 Ways to Beat the Post-Vacation Blues

When you get back from a vacation, do you experience the Post-Vacation Blues?  The post-vacation blues are what I refer to as the time after a vacation when you feel sad, depressed, unhappy, unmotivated, and grumpy about life, relationships, and work.  It’s that period of time when you have to come back down to reality and get back to the often-irritating daily grind of life.

For me, it can be really challenging.  I get extra-frustrated because vacations are supposed to be rejuvenating, right?  We’re not supposed to come back and feel worse than when we left.  But sometimes we do.  So what can we do to maintain those positive feelings when we get back from vacation?

 

 

1. Write.  Write about your vacation – all the fun stuff.  Even if it just happened (that’s actually the best time to write so you’ll remember the details), writing about how great your vacation was (and why) will have a positive influence on your state of mind.  So sit down and journal or write a blog about it.  Throw in some pictures so you can look back at it and make yourself happy. 

2. Keep vacationing.  Sure, you have to go back to work, family, and life, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun.  Think of atleast one thing you can do after your vacation that is fun and may even have some vacation-like characteristics.  Can you find a new park and go for a walk after work? Paint a picture? Take some pictures of random stuff around your town or neighborhood?  Find an entertaining activity to remind yourself that “getting back to the daily grind” can still mean having fun. 

 

3. Start planning.  Just because you might need to save up for another 6 months to afford your next vacation doesn’t mean you can’t start planning it now.  Fantasizing about your next fun adventure can be just the thing to help you disassociate from reality for a little while.  Don’t get carried away, but a little planning may be just the thing to lift your spirits.

4. Music.  While you’re on vacation, buy a CD.  It doesn’t have to be related to your vacation at all (you don’t have to buy Hawaiian music if you go to Hawaii) but it can if you like.  Listen to it while you’re there and associate your positive vacation feelings with the music. From now on, listening to that CD is going to make you think of that specific vacation.  When you get back, put it in the player, and when you’re getting ready in the morning and feeling particularly cranky about being back, pump up the volume and jam out.  Remind yourself that the vacation was meant to rejuvenate you, and this music is the tool to help that happen.

5. Short work week.  Do not return on a Monday!  Schedule your return for a Wednesday or Thursday so you have a super-short week to reacclimate yourself to the work day.  Even when you love your job, it takes a few days to get back into the groove.

Here are some additional sources for ways to beat the post-vacation blues:

Beat Those Post Vacation Blues

The Providence Center: Beating the Post-Vacation Blues

Dancing and Drumming Drive Post-Vacation Blues Away

Pamela Kruger’s Post Vacation Blues (you’re not alone!)

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9 Creative Ways to Work Abs without crunches

Getting down on the floor and completing a bunch of crunches, for me, is not fun. If it’s fun for you – keep up the hard work! If you dislike it as much as I do, but you want to strengthen those ab muscles, try some of these creative ideas. For additional creative ideas about exercise, checkout 20 Creative Ways to Get Exercise.

1. Flex it. This one isn’t that creative, but it’s important to remind yourself that you have control over your muscles, and you can work them any time you want! Whether your driving, watching television, or at the computer. You can tighten those abs as hard as you want, for as long as you want, as often as you want. That’s a pretty obvious and easy way to work your abs!

2. Dance. Whether you’re home alone, with a partner, or out at the dance clubs. Move those hips side to side while thinking about your abs, move your but front and back while thinking about your abs. See how many dance moves you can do while using your abs. Dancing is fun and you can do it any time that you’re home.

3. Sit and Stand up Straight. Forcing yourself to have good posture will include pulling those abs in. Plus it makes you look good. Two benefits out of one easy thing. So go ahead, sit up straight – just like your mom has been telling you to do your whole life!

4. Replace your recliner with an Exercise Ball. You know what I’m talking about – one of those giant balls. You know you secretly think they’re a lot of fun. So push your recliner to the side (or out to the garage) and use your ball! You can find plenty of ways to work those abs while your enjoying television or a good movie.

5. Push Ups. Yes, push ups work your chest and shoulders, but they also work your “core” aka your abs! Don’t believe me, get in the push up position, and go down. Now hold it for as long as you can. Feel something in your abs? I thought so. Why are push ups a creative alternative to crunches when you still have to get down on the floor? (because you’re working a BUNCH of muscles out at once, not just your abs)

6. Twist and Punch. I get this one from that intense Tae Bo guy, Billy Blanks. Go into a squat and start punching to the opposite side of your body, but still forward. Use your abs to turn your body. You should be making an “X” with your arms, as your right fist punches left, and your left punches right. Why is this one good? Again, because you’re working multiple muscles: abs, arms, legs. More bang for your buck!

7. Squat and Lean. I got this one from a Pilates/Yoga instructor in college. Get into the squat position, and put your hands on your head. Now lean your upper body to the side, bringing your elbow towards the ground. The lower you go, the harder the workout for your abs. Now do the other side.

8. Colon cleanse. This doesn’t exactly work your abs, but it’s a good way to flatten your abs. The average person carries about 5 pounds of excess weight in their colon. Pretty disgusting, I know. For the visual, I like to pick up my 5 pound hand weight and imagine that stuck in my colon. Gross. If you clean that junk out (which is sitting right under your abs) your abs will look flatter. Plus, you’ll be healthier!

9. Skip the gadgets. Save your money and don’t buy those silly ab gadgets that promise to get you flat abs. The reason they work is because they get you to actually exercise. If you can get yourself to exercise and work your muscles, you will get the same results. Put that money towards something more useful, like #8.

Here’s some good resources:

Get Fab Abs (without crunches) Shows some standing exercises to work your abs, with pictures!

Better Abs without crunches includes some more hard core workout moves, but it’ll work!

Yoga and Pilates for Abs with no crunches

Good luck, and I hope you start working those abs (without getting on the floor!).

10 Reasons to do Push-Ups

The 100 Push-Up Challenge has become quite popular. I am personally just starting! For a motivator, here are some reasons to do push-ups. This is a great training tool to get you to meet that 100 push-up mark. I’m just starting the program, but I’ll update as soon as I’m done!

1. Muscles. Push-Ups help you build muscles. And muscles burn fat. And burning fat is good. Muscles also look sexy.

2. Lots of muscles. Instead of working one muscle out at a time, push-ups work-out lots of muscles. Don’t take my word for it. Do as many push-ups as you can today. See which muscles hurt tomorrow. I promise it will be more than one.

3. Free. Push-ups are intense. You don’t have to pay to use a gym or fancy equipment. It’s all you baby.

4. Anywhere. You can do push-ups virtually anywhere that has gravity. For comfort and safety, you might not do them anywhere, but you get the point.

5. Impress your friends. I’m not talking to just the guys here, we all know how impressive it is when someone can literally drop down and give you 50…or 100 for that matter.

6. Self-esteem. The more push-ups you do, the better you will feel about yourself.  And they call that positive self-esteem, and that sounds pretty nice to me!

7. Military. In case you choose to join the military, you’ll have the push-up thing mastered!

8. Jail. This is kind of like #5, Impress your Friends.  If you end up in jail or prison for some reason, you’ll impress your cell mate if you can do a bunch of push-ups.  Maybe this will help you avoid some bad situations.  Maybe.

9. Bragging rights. Not just your friends will be impressed, but strangers too!  You can totally brag about how many push-ups you can do.  Just be prepared to prove it.  That will definitely impress members of the opposite sex…or not.

10. Lose weight.  Experts say that exercise is needed to lose weight.  Push-ups are a form of exercise.  That added bonus of push-ups is that they build muscles, which increases your metabolism, making you burn more fat.  So congrats.  Now you’re losing even more weight.

Here’s some additional good reason to do push-ups:

Laurens Fitness (it’s about shoulder blades)

One Hundred Push Up Challenge

20 Creative Ways to get Exercise

In my last post, I made a list of 7 Simples Ways to Lose a little Weight, and one of the list items included “Get Creative.” Adding movement and activity in small ways can add up to some extra exercise to help us lose a little weight or stay healthy. Exercise doesn’t always have to be 30 minutes of cardio activity. Sometimes, it can just be little things that get us moving. So, challenge yourself to do a couple of these each day, and you might surprise yourself with the results:

1. Sit and be Fit. There’s a program called “Sit and be Fit” for elderly people who need to exercise. It’s a session of exercise that’s completed entirely while sitting down. I’ve taken that idea and turned it into my Couch Potato Sit to be Fit. I have a couple hand weights by my recliner, and while I’m watching television or a movie, I’ll sometimes grab the hand weight and do some exercise. Once you start, you’d be amazed at how creative you can get in finding ways to work different muscles while sitting in a recliner. Even just flexing your abs or butt muscles for the length of a commercial is something.

2. The Flex Challenge. Can you flex your abs? butt? pull your shoulders back? Challenge yourself to do this each time something happens. For example, flex your abs every time you walk through a door. Or if you’re driving, flex your butt every time you turn. Get creative with it and have some fun.

3. Brushing Teeth Squats. If you have a Sonicare toothbrush, it takes 2 minutes to brush your teeth. You can do 2 minutes of squats, lunges, or wall-sits. That’s better than just standing there staring at yourself.

4. Washing Dishes Calf-Raises. I hate washing dishes, and I hate exercise – so I might as well do both at the same to get it over with. While standing at the sink, do some calf-raises. That’s not too difficult.

5. An extra flight of stairs. If you have stairs in your home, you have a great tool to add exercise. A couple times a day, when you are headed up (or down) the stairs to get something, go up and down one extra time. Pretty easy.

6. The dog. If you are blessed with a dog, you have a super easy way to add exercise to your life. If a walk around the block is just too much for you (because you don’t want to get dressed, put on shoes, and go through the effort) just chase your dog around your house. Add a toy. It’s fun, exhausting, and no one has to see you do it.

7. Dance. While you’re getting dressed in the morning, put on some music that makes you want to dance. Instead of walking to the closet, kitchen, bathroom – you can dance. You can do this in privacy and it’s a great way to start the day.

8. One More. I have a goal to be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups. I’ve always dreamed of being able to pump them out with ease. Each day, add just one more. If you start with 3 that’s okay. Tomorrow, you’ll push yourself to do 4. We can all do just “one more.”

9. 5-minute clean. Set the timer (on your oven or cell phone) for 5 minutes. Now, pick-up and clean as much as you can in your house. That means you might need to run to the living room and then run to your bedroom to put that crap away. Having a timer will motivate you to get as much done in 5 minutes as possible. That will make you move faster which will get you moving.

10. Counter-top push-ups. Every time you go to the bathroom in your home, do a set of what I call counter-top push-ups. Stand back, put your hands on the edge of the counter, and do some half push-ups. Start with a set of 5 and see how many you can get up to. It only takes a few seconds and you’re there anyway, so you might as well do something for yourself other than relieve your bladder.

11. Cell phone flexibility. While you’re chatting on the phone with your friends and family, you probably don’t want to be doing something that will put you out of breath, so do simple stretching, squats, lunges, wall-sits, or whatever simple exercises you can think of. You don’t have to just sit there while you’re talking on the phone. You can actually move around ya know!

12. Remember Jumping Jacks? See how many you can do during one or two commercials while you’re watching television. Have a lazy roommate or spouse? Challenge them to see who can do more.

Jumping Jacks

How to do a Jumping Jack

13. Replace the recliner. Replace the recliner with a stationary bike. Even if you bike super slow, it’ll be more movement than if you were just sitting on the couch or recliner. And find a comfy one so you’ll actually sit on it.

14. Arm wrestle. Both arms and with as many people who are willing to do it. It’s silly. And it’s okay to be silly!

15. Get in bed. Get in bed with a partner, and commit to being intense. Don’t be a lazy bum who let’s the other person do all the work. See how many different moves you can show the person you love!

16. Pillow Fight! Getting irritated at your partner? Feeling tense? Have a pillow fight! It’ll feel good to release all that tension, and it might lead to number 15.

17. Race. Going somewhere? Leaving somewhere? Park in the back and race your partner to the front. You might look silly, but you’ll also look hot when you lose a couple pounds. It’s fun! And it’s okay to be silly!!

18. Get a treat. If you sometimes go to get a treat with your partner – coffee, slurpee, ice-cream, any tasty treat – do it. But instead of driving there. Walk. It gives you a destination (which is easier than just going for a walk for exercise); it gives you a reward; you have to finish the walk to get home; you have a tasty treat for the way home; and you have someone to talk to – which makes it less like exercise and more like social time.

19. Be creative! You can take almost any activity you do in your life, and add some extra movement, flexing, and exercise. Just start thinking about it. How long can you hold both your legs up in the air while sitting at your desk at work?

20. Have fun and challenge yourself. If you’ve noticed, a lot of these items are silly! And that’s okay! Have fun and challenge yourself to add movement and activity into your life in as many ways as possible. Make silly competitions with your partner, challenge yourself to add more, do more, move more. And you will start feeling and seeing a difference in your body. It’s amazing how powerful small steps can be – because a small step is better than no step!

Here are some other lists of other creative ways to lose weight and get healthy! Good luck!

Easy and Creative Ways to Lose Weight: 10 Simple and Fun Techniques for Losing Weight

Small Changes Make Weight Loss Easy

Losing Weight the Easy Way

Fun Ways to Lose Weight

Easy Ways to Lose Weight

Have some additional creative ways to exercise or get moving? Leave a comment!!