Holiday Highway to Zen
With the holidays upon us, it seems road trip season is here again. Many of us want to get somewhere, while others are waiting for people to get to us. As someone who loves a good road trip (I mean there’s a reason I’ve put almost 200,000 miles on my car in just five years), I know the importance of self care on the road. Here are few things I learned on my most recent 6,000-mile highway to zen.
Remember your sunscreen. Yes, even in the winter. Having any kind of burn takes away from your festive mood. Plus, you want to be healthy when you start eating, drinking and being merry. If you want to look like you just stepped out of a spa instead of an aged four-door full of Taco Bell wrapper, grab a packet of sugar and a packet of honey at your favorite truck stop, mix them together, rub gently on your face, rinse and be ready to glow like the holiday elf you are.
Feed your body; feed your soul. It can be difficult to get tasty, healthy, fun food while on the road. Consider taking a cooler packed with your favorite healthy snacks and drinks (ok, and maybe a decadent treat or two). Before I left town, I hit Trader Joe’s and stocked up on edamame, not-quite-sushi, salads, wraps, pretzels, sparkling water and juice boxes. It was great for a while, but I wish I had picked up a little more as it was difficult being a vegetarian on the road through the Midwest. Fried bean burritos can only take you so far.
When your body is screaming for rest, listen, especially when driving conditions aren’t at their peak. With a few tools in your tool box, you can get some serious rest even in the car. Trust me when I say that 15 minutes of mid-trip, afternoon sleep can make all the difference between joyful driving and crabby, unsafe swerving and sliding about. I recommend keeping a set of earplugs, a good pillow and a white noise or meditation app handy. However, if you’re settling in for a longer sleep, be sure to stay safe, lock your doors and take care of you. Remember, safety first: Always. Your family and friends will be happy to wait if they know you’re going to arrive alive and whole.
Consider reaching out to people you haven’t seen or heard from for a while, even if you need something. You might be surprised who would love to see you, keep up with your adventure or help you along on your way. I was able to score a gorgeous hotel room in St. Louis at an unbelievable price and catch up with a college friend I hadn’t seen for 20 years with a quick message on Facebook. I had dinner with my best friend in Albuquerque and attended an interesting business meeting in Las Vegas, along with all the planned fun with family.
Consciously spend your time as you see fit. People are going to try to pull you in all sorts of festive directions. Look within and consider your priorities. Only say yes to those things that light you up or are extremely meaningful to you. Maybe that Ugly Sweater Run is exactly what gets you in the holiday spirit, but that invite to your brother’s company party makes your stomach feel full of sour egg nog. Perhaps the pre-Christmas Eve bash at your Great Aunt Maude’s isn’t your idea of a good time, but you love and value her and her enthusiasm for the holidays, so you go anyway. Who knows, maybe you can start a Christmas conga line and light up everyone’s night. The point is, no matter where the road takes you this season, make sure you’re living your life as you see fit.
You’re on the road. Feel free to try on some interesting personas. Throw on some boots and red pants and let your inner santa out to play. Pick up a stick-on mustache from a quarter machine or do like I did and grab a fun mustache straw and use it in all your road drinks in and out of the car. Whatever you do, wherever you go, be safe and have fun! Safe travels, friend.
Have a tip? I’d love to hear.