Self-care on summer vacation: Just do it

self care with a 2 year old on vacation? yeah right! #coffee&donuts

self care with a 2 year old on vacation? yeah right! #coffee&donuts

A client of mine recently traveled to South-east Asia with her husband and two kiddos. Before she left, we packed a holistic self-care kit that included:

  • Homeopathic Nux Vomica for nausea and vertigo
  • Homeopathic Cocculus for jet lag and travel related malaise
  • Homeopathic Aconite for anxiety while travelling
  • Homeopathic Gelsemium for cold/flu with weakness

There are literally hundreds of homeopathic remedies that would have worked well for her family on a long international trip – but I selected the few that matched her constitution (and her description of family susceptibilities) the best. What does that mean?

Constitutional remedies treat the whole person

A person’s constitution is their ability to cope with stress – physical, mental and spiritual. Some people are naturally more emotionally resilient than others, while others always suffer from anxiety when travelling (I’m one of them)! On the physical plane, some people’s bodies will always develop a cough while others can count on a bout of constipation when travelling. Even within the same family, travelling together, eating the same foods and sleeping in the same hotel room – baby will get diarrhea, mom will feel “out of sorts” and dad’s sinuses will go haywire.

Susceptibility is unique from one person to another

Consulting with your local holistic health practitioner before leaving for that long, overseas trip will give you the advantage of a few, simple remedies to treat each individual susceptibility (or tendency to develop certain symptoms) and to cover the most common travel-related illnesses.


“Put the oxygen mask on yourself first”

This is a maxim I picked up from one of my mentors in Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy. She reminded me again and again of the importance to care for yourself first before caring for others. This is as true for those in the healing profession as it is for parents, teachers or caretakers in any situation.

Full disclosure: I am the very worst when it comes to self-care. (Talk to most any health care professional and they may well tell you the same…) Why is that? I dunno, maybe it’s my Virgo rising. So much to do, so little time. Maybe it’s my Sun in Pisces – take care of everybody else first. Self-care is not my strong suit, so I have to fabricate ways to incorporate this invaluable bit of wisdom into my vacation routine. Here are my top self-care strategies:

Take 1 extra minute in the bathroom

That 3×4 stall (or smaller) may be the only place you truly have to yourself on vacation. So I use it to the fullest extent by doing a bit of yoga before running back into the fray. No down-dog, of course – but a heel over the toilet, a side bend toward the door, a forward bend leaning on the sink. Three big deep breathes, a splash of cold water in the face, and you’re re-energized!

Shoes off

Every chance I get the shoes are coming off. Long rides are the best time to indulge yourself in a luxurious foot massage. Start by squeezing and twisting each individual toe. Weaving your fingers in-between your toes flex them back and fourth. Then starting at the distal (toward the toes) end of your foot, press the thumbs into the foot-pad in deep, circular motions. Work your thumbs all the way to the heel. Supporting the ankle with one hand, hold onto the heel and gently rotate, up and down, inward and outward and circles in both directions. Do this on both feet.

Close your eyes

No time for a nap? Take mini-naps by adjusting your alignment and closing your eyes. Imagine the top of your head is being pulled up and out by a hook, opening the atlas axis at the base of the skull where the first cervical vertebrae supports the weight of your head. Keeping your eyes closed, imagine this space is clear and fluid, and that the head is truly floating on air. Breathing deeply, practice tiny, invisible movements from this space gently nodding yes and shaking no, and reaching your ear toward your shoulder. Simple, renewing, clarifying.

That is why I was so impressed when my client stopped by my house – running ragged tying up lose ends and last minute details – hours before she had to drive to the airport for the first leg of a long trip. She was clearly at wits end, tired kiddos, her allergies were acting up, not finished packing, etc. I met her in my driveway and immediately gave her a dose of homeopathic Spongia Tosta for her dry, dry, dry hacking cough and hot, dry sinuses. She took a deep breath, “I needed that” she said smiling.

“I am amazed that with everything else you have to take care of, you are taking time to take care of yourself first. Kudos for making your health and wellness a priority when so many other things are shouting loudly for your attention!”

my travel remedy kit is a converted tackle box - ready to go!

my travel remedy kit is a converted tackle box – ready to go!

We spent a few minutes making sure she had all the remedies she needed in her travel kit – including some arnica and plantain salves and some Dr. B’s herbal cough syrup. Bon Voyage, breathe deep and safe travels! How do you take care of yourself on vacation?

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