Spring break is here anddd I don't get spring break anymore. *womp womp* Vacations are undoubtedly a time to fully enjoy oneself, no matter where you are. But it's kind of ironic to think about how we so often fall into "vacation mode" which we want to be all about "treatin' yo self", yet we default to some practices that are quite the opposite -- i.e. binge drinking (and eating), staying up late, tanning (aka burning your skin), etc.
I had the amazing opportunity to experience the Disney Dream cruise line recently and wanted to share how I maintained my healthy habits while aboard without going insane at sea.
(1) DECIDE TO ENJOY WITHOUT OVERDOING IT
Before you even step foot on the cruise ship, make a promise to yourself that you will allow yourself to enjoy your experience without overdoing it. Squash any negative and irrational thoughts about how you "must do x, y, or z (insert drink all day, get sunburned to tan, eat ice cream for breakfast, etc.) in order to have fun". You don't know what will bring you joy until you quiet those preconceived notions and tune into YOU.
(2) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FITNESS CENTER, MAYBE
Now before you roll your eyes, just remember that this is a free resource for you on the cruise. Do you HAVE to visit? Absolutely not! I found that on the Disney Dream they offered quite a few FREE fitness classes I like (all listed in the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app upon embarkation day), including yoga on the beach. (Pst! This is also where they stock delicious fruit-infused water and offer fresh fruit like bananas, apples, and oranges for snacks -- all up for grabs.)
(3) STROLL THE SHIP
On the Disney Dream, Deck 4 was accessible all the way around the ship like a track so you could briskly walk, jog, or run while enjoying gorgeous ocean views. Also, simply exploring the ship on foot is a great way to stretch your legs and take in the magnificence of it all.
(4) GET A GOODNIGHT'S REST
I think one of the best things you can do when you actually have extra time is to spend it on sleep! The truth is, most of us walk around day-to-day in a "sleep deficit" so make sure you wake up feeling well-rested and refreshed each day you're on vacation. This means honoring when you start to feel tired (even if that's your "normal" bedtime) and getting the number of sleep hours YOU need. For me, playing some white noise was really helpful to get sound sleep so be sure to pack a white noise machine or download an app if you typically need this too!
(5) INCREASE YOUR STEPS WITH THE STAIRS
Here's the deal... there are limited number of elevators on the ship, especially when it's prime time (during dinnertime or showtime). Save yourself the hassle of fighting families of 8 and squeezing into the elevator like a sardine by taking the stairs. It's highly likely you'll get to your destination quicker!
(6) REMEMBER "BALANCE" AT BUFFETS
Anytime you hit up a buffet (which is inevitable on a cruise ship) -- breakfast, lunch, or dinner -- plate yourself a balanced meal so you leave feeling satisfied. This means making sure 50% of your meal is your favorite fruits and/or vegetables, 25% of your meal is protein, and 25% of your meal is grain-based or a starchy carb.
(7) QUIT THE CLEAN PLATE CLUB
It's easy to slip into the mindset, especially on a cruise, that you need to eat as much as you can or everything you're plated because well "I paid for it!" This is dangerous guys... it's draws you away from tuning into how your body feels when it comes to it's level of hunger or fullness. The best approach is to simply stop eating when you start to feel fullness. And know that a few more bites could put you into "OMG I'm stuffed" territory. Along the same vein, if you're served something that just does NOT taste that good... leave it! It's counterproductive to continue consuming something that you do not enjoy.
(8) TAKE TIME TO RELAX
It may seem silly that I'm calling this tip out, BUT when was the last time you truly allowed yourself to be present in a moment? There's a lot of hustle and bustle on a cruise, especially Disney cruises, but there's no shame in taking time for yourself to just completely relax and decompress from your normal stressors in life. I enjoyed lounging at Quiet Pool Cove (adults only), sitting on Deck 4 and watching the sun set, participating in a variety of the free adult-only activities while sailing (like drawing), viewing the nightly award-winning shows, or visiting the Senses Spa & Salon. (PRO TIP: Plan to attend the spa Open House on the first day of sailing to see what the spa and fitness center has to offer for FREE.)
So if you're cruising this Spring Break, I hope you enjoy, but also try out a few of these healthier habits while aboard so you can really treat your body good while you take time away. :) Have a healthy cruise tip I missed? Share with us in the comments below!