Preparing for holidays

Getting ready for holidays can feel like a mammoth task in itself. A never ending to-do list with more adding in that being taken off, or so it feels like.

Sometimes it’s work related, but many of the tasks are nice to haves. It’s a good time to practice discernment as to what tasks are on your to-do list and what goes on your later list. Being a frazzled mess before you get on the plane is not a good place to start your holiday. So can you think about winding down earlier rather than working right up until your holiday departure?

Your Holiday Clothes
One big task is getting your suitcase out of storage and reviewing all your holiday clothes.

If you are like me you will have had the same holiday clothes for years, but I have noticed that I have not worn many of them over the last few years because my shape has changed. My latest purchases have all been dresses which was a bit of a surprise when I realised just how many holiday dresses I have. I am more of a jeans and t-shirts girl. But dresses do fit well and very easy to wear. Many of my skirts and trousers are now ‘standing’ clothes, as in they fit well standing but I wouldn’t want to sit down and eat a meal with them! I came back from holidays this year and did a massive declutter of holiday clothes and sent bags to the bin and charity shops! Which always feels good!

If you are looking for some inspiration on summer wear. Nikki at MidlifeChic has fabulous blogs on summer clothes. Click here for one on swimsuits I love her attitude on ageing as well.

When I was younger would take whatever I had in samples with me. But I have found my skin isn’t so happy with that these days, so I spend time decanting my usual products so I can take them with me. I also take a look to see if there is any intensive treatments that I can take away with me.

I like to think of getting into the taxi to the airport as the start of my holiday and making the travelling day as smooth as I can make it.

If you are a regular traveller, then you know it’s not a case of if you will be delayed but rather when! There is only so much you can do to make you trip a healthy one, and I have written a blog From Frazzled Flyer in 8 steps, you can read it here

I am an introvert and often find I get ‘peopled out’ at airports. The one thing I never travel without is a pack of travel crystals. I bought the Happy Travels set from Kate Spencer and Mojo. You can click here for their crystal shop

Self-care Experiments
This year I lost an inch around my waist on my two week holiday. Which as you are aware is the most stubborn area to shift during the menopause.

I like to think of what I can do differently on holidays around self-care and particularly resting. I believe resting is something we are culturally not doing enough off with ‘I’m so busy’ being a badge of honour. When I was growing up Sundays were a day of rest because nothing was open. Today we have to be more deliberate and make a choice of when we are resting. Holidays are a perfect time to do this.

I measured myself before I left as I know there will be a change. In previous years the change hasn’t always been where I expected. You can read more here!

Rest means something different to everyone, but there are things which we do have in common. Sleep is a biggie during the menopause. It is the ultimate in hormone balancing and I often find both myself and my clients will lose inches during their summer holidays if they are in tune with their self-care routine.

Can you prioritise your sleep?
Holidays are the perfect time to work out just how much sleep that you need. If you think about teenagers who are at the other end of hormone imbalances, they are well known to sleep alot. If you are menopausal you will probably be the same! Can you use your holiday to find out just how much sleep you need?

What affects you getting a good nights sleep?

Well we actually know this don’t we:

  • Blue screen technology such as our phones,
  • Caffeine,
  • Alcohol and
  • Last meal of the day

What are your choices for your holiday, can you give your body a rest as well?

Holiday Eating
Eating on holiday can feel like a minefield, particularly if you are trying to watch your waistline.

I think it is the perfect time to be able to reflect on how your food and meals make you feel. Particularly if you are on a diet, as you will be forcing your body to eat in a particular way rather than listening to what your body needs.

What choices are you making when not dieting or counting calories. Most of us will eat out more when we are on holiday which means we have no idea of how many calories we are consuming. You can however, take a quick note of the ratios of the food on your plate.

  • How much carbs are on your place compared to protein?
  • Do you have any fat on your plate?
  • Veggies, veggies, veggies do they fill half of your plate or do you have more carbs or protein than veggies?

What else can you think about?

Are you still clearing your plate or leaving something when feeling full?

Many of us grew up being forced to clear our plates regardless of whether we were full or not. As an adult it’s not such a great habit to still have as we want to be able to tune-in to our hunger pangs during the menopause.

True hunger comes on slowly and may be rumbly and can be briefly sated by a glass of water or cup of tea. Other types of hunger come on quickly such as dehydration or cravings. Often when you know that you have eaten enough but you are still back in the kitchen, looking for something to eat.

On holidays we eat at different times to being at home and often eat differently, so pay attention to body signs. Stress can affect the body, by sending it on a quick sugar fix quest.

There can be only one!
On this holiday I decided to have one treat a day keeping my usual portions in mind. This meant I could still have a wee bit of what I fancied but without going overboard on calories.

My treats are:

  • Ice-cream! I persuaded my hubby to have a smaller size and he had half of my tub too
  • Beer! This holiday was a sunny climate and you can’t beat a cold beer when it’s warm! In Spain you can order a cana, which is less that half a pint and an ideal portion size for me
  • Nuts and crisps- probably the hardest on my portion control so we didn’t have them too often
  • Cake! I do like coffee and cake and I keep the cake portion to 3 bites as I know I’m sensitive to carbs

What can you take a holiday from?
Is there anything you can stop eating or drinking when you are holiday? We often have a wee something that we will eat everyday. Can you take a holiday from it and see how that feels whilst you are away and can you work out what triggers you to have it at home. You don’t need to stop it entirely but just understand a bit better why you are having it.

Exercising & activities
I didn’t exercise when I was on holiday, quite deliberately. I did a wee bit of Pilates and Yoga but Spanish floor tiles are not the most comfortable to exercise on! Personally I think it’s good to have a wee break. I knew when I got back that I would be catching up on my missed Pilates classes so would be doing two classes a week for 3 weeks as well as my usual Yoga.

I also didn’t do 10,000 steps each day and I was quite relaxed about that. I made sure there was always a walk but didn’t force a specific amount particularly when it was hot and uncomfortable.

And Rest
I love to spend lots of time reading on holiday, it feels quite an indulgence! I noticed Julie Kagawa’s final book in the Talon saga was out so I started reading the saga again. I am always so pleased when my favourite authors are so prolific! I also read Elizabeth Chadwick’s book Templar Silks which is about William Marshals time in Outremer.

Top Takeaways

  • Can you relearn how to rest on holiday?
  • What can you take back into every day life?
  • Can you tune back into your body and listen to what it needs?


Samantha Valand is a Pilates teacher, Yoga Instructor and Personal Trainer. Who helps women fall in love with exercising again after the menopause. You can find some inspiration over on the blog  Samatha has a free newsletter  and a fun way to sign up is through my 'Exercising and Elements | Post menopause Quiz' which help you figure out what type of fitness goal to set next using Exercising and Elements framework