Do you need a boost for your energy during your summer holidays?

Ilona Madden - RightFood4U - Nutrition Programmes - Bray Wicklow Dublin

Written by Ilona Madden

June 29, 2023

Would you like to “turbo charge” your energy levels this summer?

I hear so many people in recent weeks telling me that they are so exhausted. They have been looking forward to the summer holidays but now haven’t got the energy to do the things they had planned or would love to do.

Many people get out of their healthy daily routines. They are away from the gym or classes don’t take place in the summer months. The kids are around all the time and there’s no time to cook from scratch. Or there is more time available to eat more.

Every September, I hear of people looking forward to getting back into a routine or that they have gained weight over the summer months.

If this sounds like you, read on.

1. As soon as I get time off and can wind down, I just feel so tired. It seems like I have no energy left to do all the things I wanted to do.

Quite often, we are running on adrenaline while we are working and busy following our usual schedule. And the moment, we get some time off, we completely crash and feel that there is no energy left.

Part of it is actually a good sign of your body telling you to relax, and of course, you should use your holidays to relax.

However, you can “actively” and “consciously” relax or you can just “hang around” or “veg out”.

What is the difference?

When you actively relax, you are doing it with intention and consciously. For example, sitting down to meditate would be a consciously switching off, whereas mindlessly watching a Netflix series is not. Taking a yoga or tai chi class, doing breathing exercises, getting a massage, forest bathing, and mindful walking are all conscious relaxation practices, just sleeping on the lounger by the pool is not.

The major difference is that the conscious relaxation practices are done with an intention, and therefore you will feel good afterward. Whereas, with the mindless chilling out, you often feel by the end of the day or end of summer – “Where is the day gone?” “What have I done all day?” “I had planned so much and didn’t get anything done.”

Conscious relaxation will get your cortisol/stress levels down and will build up resilience to deal with stressful situations in the future. Watching thrillers can actually rise your stress levels.

Conscious relaxation will increase your energy levels, while mindlessly hanging around will just make you more lethargic.

Doing nothing can also lead to feeling a bit bored which in turn can lead to eating more (and gaining weight during the summer, and then feeling bad afterward).

Suggestions for deep relaxation – to get your energy levels back!
  • Schedule some Relaxation practises into your day
  • Use the summer holiday to actually try out some of the Meditation apps
  • Treat yourself to a relaxing aromatherapy massage
  • Go online and do a Yoga with Adrienne class or maybe your holiday resort offers a yoga or pilates class
  • Take a walk using all your senses – Mindful walking
  • Check out Yoga Nidra practise – which is a wakeful sleep practise which is deeply restoring
  • Ditch as many devices as you can. Can you leave your mobile phone at home or in the hotel room for the day? Could you avoid checking your emails and WhatsApp messages for a day? Can you have TV free days?

Make sure to get some exercise or rather movement in or use the summer to try out something new (for what you don’t have time during your working hours)


2. Part of my holidays is not watching what I eat and having a bit more wine and drinks

Yes, enjoying good food and a glass of wine is also something that is a huge part of my holidays and something where I can really relax. Having plenty of time to eat beautiful meals that are presented to you (in a restaurant) or inviting friends over to a leisurely BBQ are activities that can be energising and relaxing at the same time.

However, many people eat way more than they usually would during the summer months:

a) because they are bored

b) because the food is presented to them on a buffet

c) because they eat when they are not even hungry

d) because they eat out of habit (for example, they walk past an ice cream parlour or fish&chip shop and it brings back childhood memories)

e) because they feel they “deserved” it (because they worked so hard all year)

All of this wouldn’t be a problem if it happened once or twice, but the problem is that it happens sub-consciously and you tend to get into a habit of it. And eating more food than necessary and eating junk food just makes you want to eat more and makes you feel lethargic and tired.

And worse, come September you are annoyed if you’ve gained weight and know it will be a struggle to lose it again. And it will be so hard to get back into a healthy routine.

Suggestions if you don’t want to keep the weight off and have lots of energy during your holidays:
  • Become aware of the above “habits” creeping in! Watch when you are eating when you are not hungry and reflect on “why”?
  • Write it down in a journal. You’re on holidays, you have time to start this habit. Keep a food diary. This is a great habit to get into and many people tell me that they don’t have time or keep forgetting to do it during their working days.
  • Eat mindfully. Be fully present. Eat with all senses. Make sure to really taste the food. Sometimes, you will realise that the Fish&Chips don’t actually taste as good as you thought or as they did in your childhood. And that this ice-cream doesn’t actually bring back those lovely childhood memories and emotions.
  • Watch out for typical “habit” traps, such as airports, ice cream parlours, fish&chip shops etc
  • Watch out for buffets, All-inclusive etc:

Sit as far away from the buffet as possible, use only small plates, choose wisely (lots of green salad!), go several times, watch for your satiety clues before going up for dessert

  • Look for nutrient dense foods: This rule applies not just for holidays, but all year round. Don’t look for calories, but make sure that every calorie counts. Instead of a cake, could you have strawberries and cream? Make sure to get your veggies in (in form of salads for example)
  • Drink plenty of water (add flavour or herbs to it)
  • Create some delicious alcohol free (and ideally sugar-free) cocktails, have some alcohol free days
  • Remember: the more sugar you eat, the more you will crave it!


3. A real issue for some people is that they do struggle with allergies or other health issues that seem to be heightened during the summer months

If you suffer from allergies to some pollen, hayfever or insect bites it can really ruin your summer because you are feeling miserable and tired. Taking anti-histamines is a quick solution that unfortunately doesn’t cover the root cause. An allergic reaction is an over-reaction from your immune system, so it is worth looking after this first and foremost. There are a few things you can do to help alleviate some symptoms straight away, but most of these tips need to be followed all year round.

  • Probiotics support your gut health which is turn support a healthy immune system. An overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut can make your allergy symptoms worse. A healthy gut barrier is also important to avoid toxins or food getting into your blood stream and upsetting your immune system.
  • Vitamins and minerals that support your immune system, such as Vitamin D and C, zinc and selenium to name just a few.
  • Quercetin, which you can get in apples, berry and grapes, onions, broccoli and green tea, but also a supplements in therapeutic doses
  • Pineapples contain a substance called bromelain which helps reduce allergic reactions
  • Healthy fats (omega 3) which you get in oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel and (organic) salmon help reduce inflammation
  • An overall natural diet of fresh vegetables and fruit and avoiding processed foods (which also put pressure on the immune system)
  • If you have severe symptoms, it might be a good idea to talk to me about it. I can provide you with a programme that gets to the root cause of your allergies. I can also run Food sensitivity tests for you and test to determine issues with your gut microbiome that could be the root cause for allergies. If you like to have a chat with me, please book in a call here:
Many people struggle with sleep in the heat and therefore wake exhausted and not well rested (and feel hungrier and less energetic to exercise):
  • Make sure your room is well-ventilated and gets fresh cool air
  • Get a lighter duvet or just a bed sheet
  • Get dark-out blinds or an eye mask (light can keep you awake or wake you early in the mornings)
  • Wear no pyjamas or some made of very light materials
  • Cool down before going to bed
  • Avoid too much alcohol
To summarise:
  1. Remind yourself how you want to feel come September!
  2. Your body doesn’t know it’s on holidays!
  3. You deserve to feel good all year round and not just for 5 minutes when you eat (whatever). Mindset: You are not “dieting” just because you enjoy a salad.


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