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Holidays and Holistic Wellbeing: A Balanced View

Ah, holidays! Who doesn’t love escaping the daily grind, feeling the sun on their face, or perhaps experiencing a snowy chill for a change? As most of us know intuitively, holidays are more than just a break from work – they're a chance to recharge our batteries on so many levels. But how did it impact my CGM, Sleep and HRV readings???



Imagine this: you’re on a holiday, away from all those office emails and house chores. Your brain's not only getting a break, but it's also healing from everyday stress by reducing cortisol, our notorious stress hormone[1]. And that's just the beginning. As you wander through unfamiliar streets or explore nature, your brain’s gears are turning in new ways, boosting creativity and cognitive flexibility[2]. You might even find when you’re back, you're seeing things from a fresher perspective, with improved concentration[3].


On the emotional side, holidays can be a rollercoaster – in a good way. Feeling the sun and soaking up some vitamin D? That’s not just good for the skin. It's making you happier and calmer, thanks to the serotonin boost you’re getting[4]. And if you’re holidaying with loved ones, those shared sunsets, adventures, and maybe even mishaps are creating memories that will last a lifetime[5]. Let’s not forget the moments of reflection, either. A change in environment often nudges us to see ourselves and our lives a bit differently[6].


Physically, your body is thanking you too. A break often equals better sleep, free from the stresses of daily routines[7]. Plus, all that exploring means you’re getting some solid exercise[8]. There's even a thought that exposure to new environments, with their unique germs, might be giving your immune system a little workout of its own[9].


But here's where we need to chat about balance. Holidays can sometimes become an excuse for a free-for-all indulgence. We've all been there: tempted by the local cuisine (and why shouldn’t we be?), or perhaps enjoying one too many beachside cocktails. For those keeping an eye on their glucose levels (like I wrote about in my pervious blog), those mouth-watering treats can send glucose levels soaring and on a bit of a rollercoaster ride[10]. Not ideal. And while we're on the topic of those cocktails – sure, they might make you feel sleepy, but they’re sneaky. Alcohol can tamper with your heart rate variability, which is a pretty big deal when it comes to heart health[11]. And don't get me started on how it messes with your sleep cycle[12], my deep sleep percentage plummeted.


In essence, holidays are a delightful gift to our wellbeing, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Just remember, as with everything in life, a bit of moderation and a touch of mindfulness go a long way. So, next time you're on a holiday, enjoy, indulge, but maybe also take a moment to think about the choices you're making. Safe travels!


References:

[1]: "Effects of Stress on the Brain." Neurology Times.

[2]: "The Creative Benefits of Travelling Abroad." Harvard Business Review.

[3]: "Vacation Time Recharges U.S. Workers." Project: Time Off.

[4]: "Sunlight and Serotonin Levels." Healthline.

[5]: "The Benefits of Travelling with Loved Ones." Psychology Today.

[6]: "Travel and Self-awareness: A Deep Connection." Introspective Wanderlust Journal.

[7]: "Why Vacations Improve Sleep." Sleep Foundation.

[8]: "The Physical Benefits of Travelling." Health and Fitness Journal.

[9]: "Travelling and Immune System." Medical News Today.

[10]: "Continuous Glucose Monitoring: An Overview." Diabetes Care.

[11]: "Alcohol and Heart Rate Variability: A Review." Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine.

[12]: "How Alcohol Affects Quality of Sleep." National Sleep Foundation.

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